Affordable Drones

10 Best Drones Under $500 – 2017 Buyers Guide

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Finding the best drone under $500 is hard. There’s a lot of drones out there, but which ones are worth your time?

Thats why we’re here. To help you make the best possible decision and get you in the skies.

We’re going to  analyse and review the 10 best drones under $500, taking into considering both price and features.

Lets get to it:

10 Best Drones Under $500 List

1.) DJI Phantom 3 Standard


  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Distance: 500m
  • Camera: 2.7k
  • Max Speed: 16m/s


  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Auto take off & landing
  • Return to home
  • Low battery return to home
  • Beginner mode


The first drone on our list of the best drones under $500 is the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. This is DJI’s cheapest model drone and is in my opinion, the best value for money drone on the market.

This is by far the best affordable drone for beginners; it’s extremely high quality and has both a brilliant range & flight time. What more could you want?

The beauty of Phantom 3 Standard is that it’s perfect for beginners and professionals alike. It’s designed to be easily flown by any level pilot, whilst still delivering professional standard footage and photographs.

Firstly, The Phantoms 3’s camera is able to shoot in 2.7k in 30fps and 1080p in 60 FPS, allowing for some beautiful slow motion shots that will provide the user with unbelievably professional looking footage.

The camera is held in place by a 3-axis gimbal stabiliser that keeps the camera completely level during flight, resulting in incredibly smooth and stable footage.

That’s not all…

The Phantom 3 Standard is also able to shoot 12 megapixel photos, perfect for photographers looking to get a new perspective.

The drones’ intelligent flight modes allow any user to shoot some tremendously cinematic looking footage, with minimal experience required. Lets have a look at some of these modes and why they’re so useful.

In Point Of Interest (POI) mode, the drone will circle a selected position whilst keeping the camera pointing towards the pre-selected location.

The user is able to control the height, speed and radius of the circle, resulting in a very filmic shot.

best drones under 500

Way Points allow the user to select different points in which the drone will autonomously travel. This is very helpful for beginners as they are able to fly the drone, even if they are not comfortable using the joysticks.

Another reason why the Phantom 3 Standard is the top drone under $500 is its maximum flight time and range. You get a whopping 25 minutes of flight time, which is seriously impressive considering you have half a kilometre of range to explore.

The Drones auto take off and landing feature is extremely handy. The drone will autonomously take off and hover in position until you are ready to fly. The drones’ position is held in place with its GPS positioning system, allowing you piece of mind that your drone isn’t going to drift off and crash.

The best part?

All of this for less than $500!

Round up:

You won’t find a better value for money drone anywhere. The Phantom 3 standard is the perfect drone for beginners, rich with professional features that anyone can use. If you’re considering buying a drone then the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is undoubtedly the best drone under $500. Check out for more information.

2.) UpAir One


  • Flight Time: 18 minutes
  • Max Distance: 300m
  • Camera: 4k
  • Max Speed: 12m/s


  • Built-in GPS system
  • One key return to home
  • Failsafe auto return
  • Low battery voltage
  • Intelligent orientation control
  • Position hold


When you first look at the Upair One, it bares a striking resemblance to the DJI Phantom models, however this most definitely is not a cheap knock off.

The Upair One boasts some pretty expensive features, some of which beat the Phantom 3 Standard.

Although not such a well-known brand as DJI, Upair have managed to take the drone world by storm with their extremely cheap camera drone for beginner and professional use.

The Upair One has some rather impressive features that make this a great option for those of you who are looking for an affordable camera drone.

The Upair comes in 2 models, one with a 4k camera and the other with a 2k camera. The 4k version is marginally more expensive and in my opinion is definitely worth a little extra.

The fact that you are able to find an affordable drone with a 4k camera is absolutely amazing and definitely one of the Upairs greater assets.

The Upairs smart 540mAH LiPO battery keeps this bad boy in the sky for up to 18 minutes, although it has been known to go a little longer.

But there’s a catch:

Unfortunately the drones’ downfall lies in its maximum range of only 300m, although this is most definitely not a game changer.

best drones under 500

Its built-in GPS System allows it to maintain its position whilst hovering allowing the user to keep the drone under control easily.

It’s apparent that the Upair One was designed for any experience level pilot with its fail-safe auto return home feature and it’s one key return to home feature.

Why does this matter?

Well, both of these functions give the pilot piece of mind that if anything were to go wrong, the drone would be able to return easily and safely.

Round up:

Overall the Upair One deserves a place amongst the best on our list of best drones under $500. With a fantastic flight time and 4k shooting capabilities, anyone is able to capture beautiful aerial footage sure to blow peoples minds. What an amazing drone for such a low price!

3.) Parrot Bebop 2


  • Flight Time: 25 Minutes
  • Max Distance: 300m/2km
  • Camera: 1080p
  • Max Speed: 37mph


  • Follow Me & GPS Tracking
  • Return to home
  • Auto take off and landing
  • Trick Mode
  • Waypoints


The Parrot Bebop 2 is undoubtedly one of the best drones under $500, and although small, packs a serious punch. It can be bought either on its own or in an FPV bundle that comes with a headset and a Sky Controller for improved range.

Both are great options, but if you don’t like the 300m limitation of flying with a smartphone, then perhaps the FPV buddle is better suited to you, as it increases the range to 2km.

Its small lightweight body make the Parrot easy to transport and is a big hit with travellers looking to shoot some great aerial footage and pictures.

But, what makes the Parrot so special? Read below to find out. 

The Parrot Bebop 2’s features provide a great flying experience for the user, no matter their skill level. With easy to use and responsive controls the Bebop is a great drone for beginners.

When used in with the FPV bundle the Parrot has a maximum range of 2km and a flight time of 25 minutes. These are incredible stats and are hard to find in drones under $500.

The pilot is able to record their flight in 1080p and capture some impressive aerial footage.


Parrot opted for digitalised stabilisation rather than install a gimbal to the camera; this does work well however a gimbal would have been slightly more affective.

best drones under 500

As we’ve come to inspect in this price range, the Parrot features auto take off and landing capabilities and a return to home function. These features make the Parrot easy and safe to fly for beginners who have not yet mastered doing this themselves.

Not only is the Parrot easy to fly, but it’s extremely fun as well. When Trick Mode is enabled the drone is able to perform acrobatic flips in four directions. When combined with the FPV goggles, this makes for some exciting flying.

Round Up:

The Parrot Bebop 2 is a great camera drone for beginners looking for a flying experience that is both fun and able to capture HD aerial footage. With an impressive flight time and amazing range, the pilot has plenty of freedom whilst flying. If you’re an FPV fan then the FPV bundle will provide you with endless hours of acrobatic fun. The Parrot is unquestionably one of the best drones under $500.

4.) Yuneec Breeze


  • Flight Time: 12 minutes
  • Max Distance: 100m
  • Camera: 4k
  • Max Speed: 5m/s


  • Smartphone control
  • Auto take off & Landing
  • Return to home
  • Automated flight modes


 The Yuneec Breeze is an affordable 4k-camera drone, designed for beginners.

Although cheaper than Yuneecs bigger drones, the Breeze possesses many of the high-level features that are seen in the more expensive, larger models. This makes the Yuneec Breeze one of the best drones under $500 for beginners.

The Breeze is designed to autonomously capture high quality aerial footage and photographs, allowing the user to concentrate fully on what they are shooting.

Lets see what the Breeze can do:

The Yuneec Breeze has a plethora of features that make it incredibly easy to fly whilst still delivering great looking footage. With a 4k camera and three automatic flight modes, the Breeze delivers high quality cinematic footage.

These flight modes consist of selfie, orbit and follow me. These are some great features that are more common in drones under $1000.

Why’s this so good?

These automatic flight modes allow any experience level pilot to capture some amazing cinematic looking footage and what’s more, film it in 4k. Amazing!

The drones auto take off and landing make this a great option for beginners who are not able to do this themselves. Similarly, the drone is also able to automatically return home at a push of a button.

best drones under 500

​One of the downsides to the Breeze is its range, which is only 100m. This is due to the fact that the breeze is controlled by a smartphone via a WIFI connection. Its flight time of 11 minutes is decent, and thanks to its automatic flight modes, is plenty of time to get some great footage.

Round Up:

Its safe to say the Yunneec Breeze is a fantastic drone for an even more fantastic price. With some great features, simplistic controls and amazing camera, the Breeze is one of the best drones under $500 you can buy.

5.) Xiro Xplorer V


  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Distance: 1km
  • Camera: 1080p camera
  • Max Speed: 15m’s


  • Auto take off and landing
  • 3 skill level flight modes
  • One key return home
  • Intelligent orientation control


 Next on our list of the best drones under $500 is the Xiro Explorer V. This is one of my favourite looking drones; its futuristic design is unique and super cool!

As its name suggests, the drone is built for exploring from the skies. With a great range and flight time, you have plenty of freedom to fly around.

So what makes this drone so fun to fly?

​The drones’ camera is able to shoot in 1080p up to 30fps and 720p at 60fps. The camera is attached to a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer that allows you to capture steady footage.

The drones’ camera is able to shoot in 1080p up to 30fps and 720p at 60fps. The camera is attached to a 3-axis gimbal stabiliser that allows you to capture steady footage.

It’s 5200mAh batteries provide the Xiro Xplorer with an impressive flight time of 25 minutes, easily competing amongst some of the best drones. The drones’ 1km maximum range allows you utilise it’s its long flight time to explore and film the scenery.

Why’s this so impressive?

Considering how small the drone is; most drones that size aren’t able to go nearly as far or for as long, an amazing feat of engineering by Xiro.

best drones under 500

The Xplorers smart flight assistance and GPS assisted hover make the drone extremely easy to fly. With its smart controller technology, the controller will vibrate when the battery is low, allowing you to bring the drone back before it runs out.

Round Up:

Although one of the lesser known manufactures on our list of best drones under $500, Xiro have still delivered a fantastic drone with some amazing features.

It’s small size makes it easy to transport and it provides high quality stable footage, as well as an impressive flight time and range. All in all, not a bad little drone for less than $500.

6.) 3DR Solo


  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Distance: 7km
  • Camera: Requires Go Pro
  • Max Speed: 55mph


  • Auto take off and landing
  • Auto return home
  • Autonomous flight modes:


I wasn’t sure if I should include this one or not as it seems that the 3DR solo is a lot cheaper in the States, but it’s a really good drone and in my opinion worth a little increase in budget for us Brits.

The 3DR solo is designed for recording aerial footage and photos and is aimed at all experience level pilots.

The 3DR solo is an extremely popular drone and is definitely one of the more high quality quad copters on our list of best drones under $500 (admittedly, it’s little bit more).

Lets have a look at why it’s so popular.

One of the 3DR more impressive features is its brilliant flight time of 25 minutes. This sort of flight is extremely good and few drones actually manage to beat it, especially under $500.


Its maximum range of 700m does let it down a little. 700m isn’t bad, it’s just not that good either.

What’s more, the 3DR Solo is able to reach speeds of a whopping 55mph, making the drone extremely fun to fly and one of the fastest on our list of the best drones under $500.

best drones under 500

You can connect the 3DR solo to an action camera such as a Go Pro to record great looking high definition footage. 3DR actually worked along side Go Pro when designing the mount so that the two products work seamlessly together.

Auto take off and landing features are also present on the 3DR solo alongside a one-tap return to home function. As we discussed earlier, these features make the drone extremely easy for beginners and also a lot safer as well.

The 3DR Solo has some amazing pre-set shots that allow even a novice to record some great cinematic looking shots at a push of a button. These include follow me, orbit, selfie and cable cam.

A HD live feed from the camera can be displayed on a smartphone connected to the transmitter. This allows the pilot the freedom to see what they are recording and plan our their shots perfectly.

Round Up

Overall, the 3DR Solo is an amazing drone for filmmakers and photographers who are looking for a simple and controlled drone to supplement their work.

With amazing features, great flight time and plenty of distance, what more could you want from a drone?

7.) Walkera QR X350


  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Distance: 2km
  • Camera: Requires action camera
  • Max Speed: 45 mph


  • GPS positioning
  • On key take off and landing
  • Auto return home
  • Altitude and compass sensor
    Safe Function


The QR X350 is a brilliant ready to fly quad copter made by Chinese manufacturer Walkera, who have released a number of high quality and impress drones.

The QR X350 is no exception and is designed for pilots looking for a drone with some great features but with a reasonable price tag. Modestly priced, the X350 is a great value for money option on our list of best drones under $500.

Why is it such great value for money? Well…

The Walkera has a seriously impressive range of 2km, way further than a DJI Phantom 3 Standard and the same flight time of 25m. Walkera definitely aimed to beat DJI with their release of the X350

The drones Altitude sensor and GPS positioning allows it to hold its place in the air, without being controlled by the pilot. The drones GPS system also allows it to auto return home at the push of a button.

The Safe Function forces the drone to return to its take off position when it loses connection. This is a great feature as its extremely handy in the event of a fly away.

As is common amongst these standard of drones, the Walkera also has a one key take off and landing feature that make this drone very beginner friendly.

best drones under 500

If you’re looking to record your flight, a Go Pro is required with the Walkera X350, meaning that if you don’t currently have one, you may be better off investing in a drone that comes with a camera equipped, such as the Xiro Xplorer we mentioned earlier.

Round Up

The Walkera QR X350 is a great little option for those of you looking to have a fun fly around and explore your surroundings up to 2km away. Its super fast, fun and easy to fly. You can’t really ask for much more from a drone under $500.

8.) Walkera F210


  • Flight Time: 8-10 minutes
  • Max Distance: 400m
  • Camera: 800TVL Night Vision Sony Camera
  • Max speed: 120kmph/ 80mph


  • Brushless Motors
  • FPV Antenna
  • Night Vision
  • Bow design


This Walkera F210 is a massively different drone to the Walkera QR X350 we just discussed.


The F210 is a super fast, ready to fly racing drone. It’s an absolute beast and a blast to fly. If you’re considering getting into drone racing then the Walkera F210 is a great option to start with.

When you give the drone more power, it’s articulated motors rotate forward, keeping the quad copters body flat and therefore more aerodynamic.

Why’s this so good?

The reduction in drag allows the F210 to accelerate a lot faster and reach its maximum speed ridiculously quickly

What’s more, the racers body is constructed out of carbon fibre that makes the F210 far more durable and lighter, allowing it to reach incredible top speeds of 120kmph (80mph).

The F210’s bow design not only makes the drone faster and more agile but also more resistant to impact damage.

 The drone was designed based on anti collision and anti drop mechanics that ensures the safety of the drone whilst flying.

Moving onto the drones’ camera.

best drones under 500

The Walkera sports a 1million pixel, HD, night vision camera that is able to detect the outside brightness and switch to its surveillance inferred camera if need be.

This is great because the user is able to fly their drone both day and night!

Not only is the camera able to operate in any lighting condition, it has a 120 degree super vision lens that delivers a bright and clear picture. This large field of view delivers a strong visual impact resulting in an amazing immersive flying experience.

Round Up

The Walkera F210 is a durable, fast and easy to fly FPV racing drone that delivers an incredible flying experience. No matter your capability in drone racing, the F210 provides a great platform to learn, race and have fun. The Walkera F210 is no doubt one of the best racing drones under $500 and worth the investment.

9.) Ehang Ghost Drone 2.0 VR


  • Flight Time: 25 Minutes
  • Max Distance: 1km
  • Camera: 4k
  • Max Speed: 43mph (70kph)


  • Virtual reality flying
  • Avatar mode
  • 1 year no fault warranty
  • Return to home
  • Auto take off & landing


Ehang are a relatively unknown drone manufacturer who’s latest release, the Ghost Drone 2.0 VR has taken the drone world by storm.

So, what makes the Ghost Drone so popular?

Ehang designed their Ghost Drone in a way that any experience level pilot is able to fly in a unique and immersive way. No other drone under $500 currently provides such a thrilling VR way of flying.

So what makes this one of the best drones under $500?

The drone comes accompanied by a set of FPV goggles that connect with the on board camera. When the user looks up and down, this causes the camera to tilt in that direction, creating an awesome virtual reality effect.

That’s not all…

The drone is controlled by the Ehang app on either a smartphone or a tablet. The Ghost Drones Avatar Mode allows you to control the movement of the drone by tilting your device in the direction you want it to go.

When you use this with the VR headset, it creates an awesome and immersive way of flying, reminiscent of something out of a sci-fi film.

The Ghost Drone can stay up in the air for as long as 25 minutes and travel as far as 1km without loosing connection. Pretty impressive!

best drones under 500

You can also capture your flights with the Ghost Drones 4k camera that is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal, providing extremely smooth and stable footage.

Want to know the best part?

Ehang offer a 1-year no fault warranty, which is pretty much unheard off. Even if you are to crash your drone up to 3 times a year, Ehang will replace it for you.

Also present on the Ehang are your basic safety and beginner friendly features such as auto take off/ landing and a one-touch return to home function.

Round Up 

The Ehang Ghost Drone 2.0 VR is one of the most unique quad copters on our list of best drones under $500. All of its features are designed impress; with an incredible flight time, range, and camera, the Ehang Ghost Drone is a great option for you drone lovers out there!

10.) AEE AP10 Pro


  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Distance: 700m
  • Camera: 1080p 60fps
  • Max speed: 20m/s


  • Auto return home – fail safe
  • Tilting camera
  • GPS & Manual Mode


The AEE AP10 Pro is the final drone on our list of the best drones under $500. The AP10 Pro is a semi-autonomous drone with an amazing build quality perfect for beginners looking for a decent drone to learn on.

Not only is it beginner friendly, the drone is also able to capture high definition aerial footage that is sure to impress.

Lets take a closer look at its features.

The AEE AP10 Pro comes with a 1080p camera that is able to shoot in 60 fps, allowing you to get some awesome slow motion shots. The camera also has 16 megapixels, making it a great option for photographers wanting to get some aerial pictures.

The camera is also able to tilt vertically, adding another dimensions of movement to your shots, making them more dynamic and filmic.

You are able to connect your smartphone to the transmitter to receive a live feed from the drones’ camera, allowing you to carry out your shots with precision.

best drones under 500

The drone comes with two modes, GPS mode and manual mode. GPS mode is definitely more beginner friendly, as the drone is able to hold is position without and control from the pilot.

Manual mode requires a bit of practice, as the drone won’t hold its place on its own. It’s always good to have some experience flying in manual mode, as it could be handy if you’re drone loses GPS positioning mid-flight.

That’s not all…

The AEE AP10 Pro has a fail-safe protection, which means that if the drone is to lose signal, it will return to its point of take off automatically.

Beginners can fly with the piece of mind that if anything is to go wrong, the drone is able to get back to where it took off.

To top it all off, the AP10 pro has a brilliant flight time of 25 minutes and a respectable maximum range of 700m. These allow for a stress free flying experience and plenty of freedom in the air.

Round Up​                                                                                                         

To finish up, its safe to say that the AP10 Pro is a brilliant drone, built to last the inevitable bumps and knocks that come with learning to fly a drone. The drone has a brilliant camera, is extremely safe to fly and it certainly one of the best drones under $500.

Best Drones Under $500 Round Up

We hope that you’ve found our article on the best drones under $500 helpful. If there is anything you would like us to add, or perhaps a product you’d like reviewed – feel free to get in touch.

​If you're looking for a step up from these drones, check out our article on the best drones under $1000.

James Davis

A passionate drone enthusiast, travelling New Zealand whilst blogging about the thing he loves - Drones :)

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