Drones have revolutionized various sectors of our daily lives – from entertainment and photography to security and delivery services. While there’s a vast selection of drones available, the perfect choice for hobbyists and beginners are usually those with affordability and quality packed together. In this blog post, we’ll focus on ten of the best drones you can get under $500 in 2023.

What to Expect in a Drone Under $500

When you’re shopping for a drone under $500, expect a mix of basic to intermediate functionalities. These drones typically come equipped with quality cameras, decent flight times, and a fair amount of range. They are perfect for those just getting started or hobbyists who want to take their love for flying to the next level without breaking the bank.

Top 10 Drones Under $500

  1. DJI Mini 2: The Overall Champion The DJI Mini 2 deserves to be the top pick for several reasons. It’s not just the best drone under $500, but also the only one in this price range that boasts a 4K camera. With such a high resolution, expect stunningly clear images and videos that will leave you in awe. This gadget’s beauty extends beyond its camera. Its compact size and feather-light weight of less than 250 grams make it one of the most portable drones in the market, perfect for those always on the move. Moreover, its ease of operation makes it a great pick for beginners as well as seasoned drone enthusiasts. The DJI Mini 2 also impresses with its half-hour flight time, and excellent range and speed. The only minor setback? It’s not the biggest camera drone out there, but it certainly delivers big in every other aspect!
  2. DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo: Best Bang for Your Buck If you’re seeking value for money, look no further than the DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo. It’s lightweight, coming in under 250 grams, and packs a quality 2.7K camera that captures images and videos crisply. Its compact size spares you the hassle of registering it with the FAA. However, its connectivity range of up to 1 mile is the shortest among DJI drones. Despite this, the DJI Mavic Mini is a fantastic choice for novices or those who fancy carrying their drone in their backpack and embarking on an impromptu aerial photography session.
  3. Hubsan Zino 2 Plus: The Premium Pick The Hubsan Zino 2 Plus is our top premium choice for drones under $500. Although it sits at the higher end of this price bracket, its additional features make the extra dollars worth it. This GPS-operated drone sports a 9K-resolution camera hanging from the nose, capturing images that are nothing short of mesmerizing. Its fold-up design boosts portability, making it a perfect travel companion. This drone also comes with interchangeable lens filters, allowing you to switch up your videography and photography techniques. The Zino 2 Plus is slightly heavier than most drones, weighing 2.7 lbs, and costs more, but its high-end features make it an excellent choice for those willing to splurge a bit.
  4. DJI Mini SE: The New Entrant Replacing the now obsolete Mavic Mini, DJI has introduced the Mini SE, an affordable yet impressive model. This drone brings quality to the table without burning a hole in your pocket. It’s lightweight and features a 2.7K camera, comparable to some high-end models, and powerful, long-lasting batteries. As a bonus, DJI has ensured that the batteries from the Mavic Mini fit this new model, making it an excellent upgrade choice. However, note that the DJI Mini SE doesn’t support memory card capabilities, meaning you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi image transmission.
  5. Ryze Tello: The Educational Marvel The Ryze Tello stands out for being more than just a fun gadget; it serves as a great educational tool as well. It’s ideal for beginners or kids who are stepping into the world of drones. This simple model lets you code your navigation and can even be flown safely indoors. Despite its educational features, the Tello isn’t a camera drone and may not be the fastest, but it’s a fantastic, user-friendly choice for newcomers.
  6. BetaFPV Cetus Pro FPV Drone Kit: The Virtual Reality Maestro For a truly immersive flight experience, the BetaFPV Cetus Pro is your best bet. This drone comes with video goggles, creating a VR-like environment where you feel like you’re soaring through the sky yourself. With brushless motors, it provides longer flight times and better performance. The downside? Its flight time caps at around 5 minutes. Despite this, it boasts impressive durability, shutting down automatically during crashes and having rotor guards to protect the motor.
  7. Potensic A20 Mini: The Kid-Friendly Joyride The Potensic A20 Mini is a fantastic entry-level option, perfect for kids and beginners. This drone is easy to operate, featuring a single throttle stick control for effortless navigation. With just 3 AA-sized batteries, you can enjoy a flight time of 15 to 18 minutes. Its “headless mode” lets you fly in any direction without worrying about orientation. While it lacks flip or trick functions, the simplicity of the Potensic A20 Mini is precisely what makes it appealing to beginners.
  8. Holy Stone HS100: The Super Selfie-Taker The Holy Stone HS100 is an inexpensive drone that packs plenty of features. Equipped with a 2K camera and GPS, it has headless mode, altitude hold, and one-key take-off. The body folds for portability and features a return-to-home function, ensuring your drone always makes it back to you. With its “Follow Me Mode,” you can take epic selfies as it follows you around. You can view your images directly on your remote control for immediate feedback on your aerial photography!
  9. Parrot Anafi Extended: The Unorthodox Photographer For those looking for something different, the Parrot Anafi Extended allows you to film from below, a unique function you won’t find in any other drone. This opens up a plethora of creative possibilities. It offers a 25-minute flight time and a 4K HDR camera. It comes with a set of spare remotes, extra batteries, and an SD card. However, you’ll have to wait 15 days to purchase the app to unlock the “Follow Me” function, which could be a tad frustrating.
  10. Walkera F210 Professional Racer: For Speed Demons Finally, we have the Walkera F210 Racer for those who crave speed and agility. This drone lets you perform precise maneuvers, including flips, rolls, and racing moves. It features a night-vision camera, so you can fly at any time. But remember, this model requires registration with the FAA and provides a flight time of only 8 to 9 minutes.

Why Consider Buying a Drone Under $500

Drones in this price range offer an excellent balance of cost and functionality. They are ideal for beginners learning to fly or hobbyists interested in aerial photography or videography. They also offer enough features to make the flying experience exciting, like decent camera resolution, reasonable flight time, and user-friendly controls.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Drone

When purchasing a drone, it’s essential to consider its durability, camera specs, battery life, and ease of use. Drones in the under $500 category can offer a blend of these factors, making them an excellent value for money. Let’s now take a look at our top picks for drones under $500.


DroneWeightCamera ResolutionFlight TimeNotable Features
DJI Mini 2<250g4K30 minCompact size, easy to operate, great range and speed
DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo<250g2.7K30 minLightweight, excellent value for money, includes extra accessories
Hubsan Zino 2 Plus2.7 lbs9K33 minPremium features, fold-up design, interchangeable lens filters
DJI Mini SE<250g2.7K30 minAffordable, uses Mavic Mini batteries
Ryze Tello80g720p13 minEducational drone, allows for coding navigation
BetaFPV Cetus Pro FPV Drone KitN/AN/A5 minVR-like flight experience, impressive durability
Potensic A20 MiniN/ANo camera15-18 minEasy to operate, perfect for kids
Holy Stone HS100700g2K15 minFoldable design, GPS, “Follow Me” mode
Parrot Anafi Extended320g4K HDR25 minUnique filming from below, includes spare parts
Walkera F210 Professional RacerN/AN/A8-9 minFast and agile, perfect for drone racing

How to Maintain Your Drone Under $500

Just like any other piece of technology, drones require routine maintenance to keep them running optimally. One of the first things to keep in mind is always to handle your drone with care. When you’re not using it, store it in a protective case to prevent dust accumulation or accidental damage.

Remember to check your drone for any physical damage before and after each flight. Pay close attention to the propellers; they should be free of cracks or any other imperfections. If you notice any damage, replace the parts immediately. The drone’s battery is another crucial component that needs attention. Ensure it is fully charged before flying and never leave a drained battery inside the drone.

Cleaning your drone is equally important. Use a can of compressed air to clean out the motors, ensuring there’s no debris lodged inside that could hamper the rotation. Be sure to clean the camera lens with a microfiber cloth to maintain optimal image quality.

Lastly, keep your drone’s software up-to-date. Drone manufacturers frequently release firmware updates to improve performance and fix bugs. Regularly updating your drone’s firmware will ensure it functions at its best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Drones Under $500

1. Do I need to register my drone?

In many countries, including the U.S., drones that weigh over a certain amount need to be registered with the appropriate aviation authority. For hobbyist pilots in the U.S., any drone weighing between 0.55 lbs (250 grams) and 55 lbs needs to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

2. What is the range of a drone?

The range of a drone varies significantly depending on the model and price. Cheaper drones may have a range of only a few hundred feet, while high-end models can have a range of several miles.

3. How long can a drone fly?

The flight time of a drone depends on its battery capacity. On average, most consumer drones can fly between 10 to 30 minutes on a full charge. However, some high-end models can fly for up to 60 minutes.

4. Can I fly a drone at night?

The rules for flying a drone at night vary by country. In the U.S., for example, drone pilots must follow the FAA’s Part 107 rules, which generally prohibit night flying unless the drone is equipped with anti-collision lights.

5. Can I fly a drone in bad weather?

While some high-end drones are built to withstand adverse weather conditions, it is generally not recommended to fly drones in poor weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or high winds. The risk of malfunction or damage is significantly higher under these conditions.

Always remember to check your local drone laws and regulations before flying, as rules can vary widely depending on where you are.

In Summary

Whether you are a hobbyist, a beginner, or someone wanting to explore the realm of aerial photography without spending a fortune, the drones listed above give you the best of both worlds – affordability and quality. Select the one that aligns best with your needs and start soaring!

Did you find this guide helpful? Which drone will you pick? Let us know in the comments. Share this post with fellow drone enthusiasts to help them make an informed choice. Happy flying!