Top 3 Best Drones under $500 (updated for 2020)

best-drones-under-$500

The best drones under $500 are already going to be closer to a professional level experience than the categories we've seen before.

With this budget, you're already going to take super smooth stabilized footage with resolutions up to 4k, and definitely a good GPS system.

If you're in a hurry you'll be able to see the table bellow with links to each of the top drones, including the cheapest price I could find for my overall winner of this price range.

Bellow you'll have presented the top drones for each possible use and flight need, including GoPro cameras, foldable design or low weight and size.

We're also going through the main benefits of each and what you should look for in a drone for this budget.

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What to look for in a drone under $500?

There are many individual details that can separate the quality of drones in this price range, especially considering different people will have different needs.

I only included stabilized camera drones in this list, not racing drones or toy quadcopters. The price range will be somewhere between $300 and $500. For drones that are made for action cameras, the total price(including the GoPro) might vary.

Battery life icon

Battery Life

Battery life in this price category should definitely be over 15 minutes per flight. Drones at this price range will probably come with smart discharge batteries also.

camera icon

Camera quality

When it comes to cameras, resolution isn't all that matters, you should look for dynamic range, frames per second and compare the samples.

Drone Range

Drone Range

If you want to get the job done and film almost any point of interest, a range of 500m-1km is enough. Most drones on the list will be more than that.

What are the Best drones in this price range?

This table is not necessarily ordered by what's the best one, as I tried to put a variety of different quadcopters that can appeal to a wider audience. Therefore make sure you choose what you like best, as they're all pretty much in the same range of quality.

Winner Hubsan Zino 2

  • 4k 60p camera
  • 8km range
  • 32 min battery
  • great image quality
  • option to put ND filters easily
  • modular gimbal+camera
  • Great transmitter
hubsan zino 2

4.Dji Spark - Still a great drone in 2020

1080p

15min 

2km

2 axis image stabilization

Although it made my top of the list drones just one year ago, the DJI spark isn't the definite winner for the under $500 category anymore. DJI has stopped selling it on their site but you can still find it to buy in the description.
 
For those of you who don't know about it, the DJI Spark is  a really compact drone with a 15 minute battery life, a 1080p camera and a 2 axis stabilization gimbal, It's a really sold quadcopter and it comes with a ton of flight modes that are really well made, from circle around to follow me and even obstacle avoidance. It has this sensor in front that helps it with detecting obstacles.
 
The camera also has some electronic image stabilization so the footage is surprisingly smooth. This drone is absolutely perfect for photos too, as it can take amazing 4k photos that can be edited later in post processing and made to look quite professionally. It's Still a great drone in 2020 and I definitely recommend it if you want a sturdy drone that can take a few crashes no problem.

Advantages

  • Great GPS stability
  • Cheaper than ever (from amazon)
  • Small yet durable
  • a ton of flight modes
  • many accessories

DISAdvantages

  • 2 axis gimbal
  • low battery autonomy

3.Xiaomi Fimi x8 - solid GPS drone under $500

4k

30min 

5km

3 axis stabilization

xiaomi-fimi-x8-black-package
The Xiaomi FImi X8 is a really capable drone with a 4k camera 5km range 30minute battery life and 3 axis gimbal stabilization. 
 

I'll underline the fact that this drone is unique through the fact that it also shoots 2.7k in 60p. Which is something I wanted for a long time considering I usually shoot in 2.7k anyway.

The drone and controller are both very well made, typical for Xiaomi and the app is also pretty good too.

The only downside of this drone is that the gimbal doesn't have any ground clearance and you have to launch it from a plane surface.
 
It's better than the smaller drones on this list by the fact that it's sturdy and powerful in wind and you can do many complex movements simultaneously with it.
It's cheaper brother, The Xiaomi Fimi A3 made it on my top list with drones under $300.

Advantages

  • 4k camera
  • Great GPS stability
  • 2k at 60 fps
  • great range
  • long flight time
  • foldable design
  • 100mpbs bitrate

DISAdvantages

  • gimbal clearence quite low
  • no obstacle avoidance

2.Dji Mavic Mini(best drone under 250g)

2.7k

30min 

4km

3 axis stabilization

The Mavic Mini is a really special drone mainly because it's really capable although it's actually under the 250 gram registration limit. It comes with a 3 axis gimbal, a 2.7k camera, 30 minute battery life and a 4km range, what more can you want for this size?

It's also foldable and super small in size, the perfect vlogging or travel drone in my opinion. 

I had this lower on the list, but with a recent update, DJI has made possible to change ISO and shutter speed for this drone, making it a much more potent drone for proper videography. 

So now you can actually use ND filters and keep the shutter speed smooth for those perfect creamy shots.

Advantages

  • 30 min battery life
  • under 250 g
  • can edit videos in the app
  • smaller than a phone
  • multi charger for multiple batteries

DISAdvantages

  • a bit too small for extreme winds
  • no obstacle sensors

1.Hubsan Zino 2 - Best drone under $500

4k

30min 

4km

3 axis stabilization

hubsan zino 2

Since it's predecesor, the Hubsan Zino made it as my top drone on my list with the top drones under $300, it was expected this one would do pretty well here too.

It's not a perfect drone for sure, but if you want a sturdy, reliable drone with great specs for this price… I would recommend you this.

There's only one place on the internet I could find this under $500, the rest are $700 or more, lol.

With the Hubsan zino 2 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

  • 4k 60p camera
  • 8km range
  • 32 min battery
  • great image quality
  • option to put ND filters easily
  • modular gimbal+camera
  • Great transmitter

DISAdvantages

  • hard to find under $500