What are The Best Drones Under $500?

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If you love clear photography like me, you understand the importance of a good drone. When I’m not traveling, I like to document my everyday life and share it with friends and family. A good drone can help capture memories from new perspectives and make everyday moments more memorable.

So, during my hunt for the best drones under $500, I tested five drones and found the DJI Mini 2 to be the best drone overall.

One thing that stood out to me about the DJI Mini 2 is its portability. The drone is small enough to fit in your hand and comes with a handy carrying case. This feature makes it great for travel, as you can easily take it wherever you go.

Keep reading for a comprehensive review of DJI Mini 2 and other drones I tested.

Reviews of The Best Drones Under $500

Best Overall
DJI Mini 2

The DJI Mini 2 is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a powerful and portable option. It's perfect for travel, as it fits easily into your carry-on luggage. The 4K camera and various shooting modes also make it great for taking pictures and videos.

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The most noticeable feature of the DJI Mini 2 is its size. The camera drone is small enough to fit in your hand and comes with a carrying case for easy transport. However, despite its small size, the DJI Mini 2 is a powerful drone. It has a maximum range of 6.2 miles and can stay in the air for 31 minutes.

The DJI Mini 2 also has a 4K camera that takes clear pictures and videos. It’s easy to use and comes with various shooting modes, such as Panorama and Timelapse. Furthermore, the drone has an obstacle avoidance system, so you don’t have to worry about crashing into objects. And the best part is that DJI Mini 2 has a level 5 wind resistance so that you can fly it in almost any weather condition.

You will love this drone’s 4x digital zoom that allows you to take closer pictures without losing quality. If you’re looking for a great camera drone under $500, I highly recommend the DJI Mini 2.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Powerful and long-lasting battery
  • 4K camera with various shooting modes
  • Level 5 wind resistance
Best for Range
Ruko F11 Pro

If you'd like to use your drone to record lofty mountain tops or vast expanses, you'll want to consider investing in the Ruko F11 Pro. This compact drone has a 4,000ft (about 1.2km) control range and can transmit live video up to 1,640ft (about 500m) to connected smartphones.

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This drone has a flight time of up to 28 minutes, which is impressive for its price point. Additionally, the Ruko F11 is very easy to fly, making it great for beginners.

Ruko F11 features a 4K camera, and when combined with its 3-axis gimbal, it takes clear and stable pictures and videos. In addition, the camera drone has various intelligent flight modes, such as QuickShots and TapFly. These make it easy to take great photos and videos without prior experience.

I instantly fell in love with its powerful yet noiseless motors that let you enjoy a flight without distractions. The Ruko F11 also has an obstacle avoidance system, so you don’t have to worry about crashing into objects. In addition, the Ruko F11 has a level 6 wind resistance, making it perfect for flying in almost any weather condition.

The multi-GPS systems are another thing to like about this drone, not to forget the intelligent battery that provides up to 28 minutes of flight time. Overall, the Ruko F11 is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a durable option.

Pros:

  • Long flight time
  • 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal
  • Various intelligent flight modes
  • Powerful and noiseless motors
  • Level 6 wind resistance
Best for Reliability
DJI Mini SE

DJI drones are some of the highest-quality consumer-friendly drones available, and in my opinion, the DJI Mini SE is the best choice for those looking to spend less on a top-notch drone.

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The DJI Mini SE is the most portable drone on this list. Just like DJ Mini 2, it fits easily into your carry-on luggage and comes with a carrying case. In addition, this drone can perfectly fit in your palm. Despite its small size, the DJI Mini SE is a powerful camera drone with a maximum range of 4.3 miles and a flight time of 30 minutes.

This drone also has a 4K camera that takes clear pictures and videos. It’s easy to use and comes with various shooting modes, such as Panorama and Timelapse. The DJI Mini SE also has an obstacle avoidance system, so you don’t have to worry about crashing into objects. And like the DJI Mini 2, the DJI Mini SE has a level 5 wind resistance. Finally, you will appreciate this drone’s 12MP sensor that captures excellent pictures and videos. If you’re looking for the most portable drone under $500, I recommend the DJI Mini SE.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Powerful and long-lasting battery
  • 4K camera with various shooting modes
  • Level 5 wind resistance
Best for Features
EXO X7 Ranger Plus

From the drone's high-end camera to the obstacle avoidance and GPS systems, the EXO X7 Ranger Plus has everything you need in a drone. This drone also has a flight time of up to 25 minutes to let you enjoy long flights without interruption.

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The camera on this drone is excellent. It’s a 4K camera with a 3-axis gimbal that takes clear, stable pictures and videos. In addition, the camera drone has various intelligent flight modes, such as QuickShots and TapFly. These make it easy to take great photos and videos without prior experience.

I was also impressed by its powerful motors allowing a smooth and noiseless flight. The obstacle avoidance system is another excellent feature of this drone. It ensures that you don’t have to worry about crashing into objects. The EXO X7 Ranger Plus also has a level 5 wind resistance, making it perfect for flying in almost any weather condition. Overall, the EXO X7 Ranger Plus is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a feature-rich option.

Pros:

  • 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal
  • Various intelligent flight modes
  • Powerful motors
  • Obstacle avoidance system
  • Level 5 wind resistance
Best for Most Fun
Ryze Tech Tello - Boost Combo

The Tello Boost is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a fun and easy-to-use option. This drone is very lightweight and portable, so you can take it wherever you go. Additionally, the Tello is very easy to fly.

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The Tello has various intelligent flight modes, such as QuickShots and TapFly. These make it easy to take great pictures and videos without prior experience.

I also love the Tello Boost’s VR compatibility. This benefit allows you to connect a VR headset and enjoy a first-person view of your flight.

The Tello Boost also has an obstacle avoidance system, so you don’t have to worry about crashing into objects. And like the DJI Mini 2, the Tello Boost has a level 5 wind resistance. Overall, the Tello Boost is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a fun and easy-to-use option.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to fly
  • VR compatibility
  • Obstacle avoidance system
  • Level 5 wind resistance

Buying Guide

Features

When choosing the best drone under $500, look for a feature-rich drone to make your shooting more manageable and fun. Some essential features to consider include:

Return to Home

This feature allows your drone to automatically return to its take-off point in case it loses signal or runs out of battery.

Obstacle Avoidance

While flying drones, this feature helps to prevent your drone from crashing into objects.

Follow Me

This feature is a must-have for anyone looking to take hands-free photos and videos. The drone will follow you so that you can focus on your shot.

Pre-Programmed Flight Paths

This is an excellent feature for anyone looking to take aerial photos and videos. You can program your drone to fly along a specific path to capture the perfect shot.

Camera

The camera is critical when choosing the best drone under $500. Look for a drone with a high-quality camera that takes clear and stable pictures and videos.

Some drones even come with 4K cameras so that you can capture stunning video footage. Additionally, look for a drone with a gimbal. This feature keeps your photos and videos stable, even if the drone moves around. Also, check if the drone features software stabilization.

Battery Life

Another essential factor to consider is battery life. Most drones under $500 have a flight time of around 20-30 minutes. However, some drones can fly for up to 45 minutes. So, if you’re looking to take longer flights, choose a drone with long battery life. Some important aspects to determine the battery life are:

Hot Swaps

This great feature allows you to change the battery while the drone is still flying. So, you don’t have to land the drone whenever you want to change the battery.

Charging Time

Some drones can take up to 3 hours to fully charge, while others only take around 60 minutes. So, if you’re looking for a fast-charging drone, choose one with a shorter charging time.

Extra Batteries

It’s always a good idea to buy extra batteries to extend your flight time.

Range

The ideal drone range depends on your needs or how you intend to use the drone. For instance, if you’re looking to take long-distance flights, you’ll need a drone with a higher range.

On the other hand, if you only plan on flying the drone around your neighborhood, then you won’t need a drone with a long range. Most drones generally have a range of around 100-300 meters.

However, some high-end drones have a range of up to 5 kilometers. So, if you’re looking for a long-range drone, choose one with a range of at least 1 kilometer.

Best Drones Under $500

Warranty and Repairs

Drones are a significant investment, so choosing a drone with a good warranty is essential.

Most drones come with a standard 1-year warranty. However, some drones come with an extended 2- or 3-year warranty. So, if you’re looking for extra peace of mind, choose a drone with a more extended warranty period.

Besides the period of warranty coverage, consider what the warranty covers and the process for filing a claim.

For instance, some warranties only cover manufacturing defects, while others also cover accidental damage. If you decide to purchase a DJI drone the DJI Care Refresh is a great warranty option.

Also, choose a drone from a reputable brand that offers good customer service and repairs. Then, if you have any problems with your drone, you can quickly fix them. This aspect is vital if you’re choosing a more expensive drone.

Some companies require you to send the drone back for repairs, while others have authorized repair shops that can do the repairs for you. So, if you don’t want to be without your drone for a long time, choose a company that offers quick and easy maintenance.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about purchasing a drone.

Is $500 enough or too much for a drone?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a drone. But based on my research and the type of drones I found, I would say that $500 is a reasonable budget for a drone.

Are $500 drones good for photography and videography?

Absolutely, some great drones under $500 come with features like 4K cameras and gimbals, which are perfect for photography and videography.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, there are a lot of great drones under $500. However, each drone has its features, benefits, and weaknesses. Therefore, weigh your options carefully to choose the best drone for your needs.

For instance, DJI Mini 2 is the perfect option if you’re looking for a small and lightweight drone. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a drone with a longer flight time, make sure to choose one with long battery life, like the Ruko f11. In the same way, if you’re looking for a long-range drone, make sure to pick one with a range of at least 1 kilometer.

Finally, don’t forget to consider other important factors like customer service, warranty, and repairs.

Now that you know what to look for in a drone, it’s time to start shopping. I highly recommend the DJI Mini 2. It’s an all-around drone perfect for beginners and intermediate users. Plus, it has excellent features like a 4K video, a 3-axis gimbal, and a 20-minute flight time.

So, if you’re looking for a great drone under $500, the DJI Mini 2 is the way to go.

Best Overall
DJI Mini 2

The DJI Mini 2 is an excellent drone for anyone looking for a powerful and portable option. It's perfect for travel, as it fits easily into your carry-on luggage. The 4K camera and various shooting modes also make it great for taking pictures and videos.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Photo of author

AUTHOR

Keith Moreau is the founder and chief editor at Flyver.co. His aim? Simple. Cut through the jargon and help you fly better and safer with your drone.

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