If you are looking for a drone under $500 you can get a pretty nice machine. The DJI Spark is probably our #1 suggestion, that is unless you can snag a deal on the Yuneec Q500. Let’s take a closer look at your best options.
The DJI Spark
This is one of the best drones you can buy for your money right now. The Spark is a compact drone that is capable of taking excellent video for a fraction of the price of some of the bigger DJI drones. The Spark has GPS stability and a variety of video modes to help make getting the perfect shots even easier. Its 1080p camera is stabilized by a mechanical two-axis gimbal that helps you get smooth picture and video.
You’ll get a live feed on your smartphone via the DJI Go4 app. You can fly the Spark using only gestures or with your smartphone, but we highly recommend you get the optional remote control. It extends the range of the Spark to 1000 meter and gives you even better control and precision.
The biggest drawback to the Spark is its limited 16 minute flight time. It is an excellent drone and one we fly on a regular basis. We highly recommend getting the Fly More Package. You’ll get the remote another battery and some other awesome extras. Learn more about the DJI Spark HERE.
|Order a Spark directly from DJI|
|Order a Spark from Amazon|
The Yuneec Q500
It is rare that you’ll see a quadcopter of this quality for less than $500, but from time to time you’ll see this gem sneak under $500. It is an excellent aerial photography drone capable of taking 4K video. You can even remove the camera and gimbal setup to use it as a handheld gimbal with its steady grip. With the Q500 you get a super stable GPS quad with advanced flight modes like follow me and find me. The remote control is one of the best we’ve seen and has a built-in color LCD monitor so you can see exactly what your drone sees without having to worry about connecting it to your smartphone. The Q500 has a 25 minute flight time and 600-meter range. Once upon a time this drone cost close to $1000, but typically you can find it for $599 and sometimes even $499. Learn more about the Yuneec Q500 HERE.
|Check the price of the Yuneec Q500 on Amazon|
|Check the price of the Yuneec Q500 on B & H Photo|
The Parrot Bebop 2
The Parrot Bebop 2 is an excellent drone and fun in its own right. We definitely would recommend the FPV Bundle Package and if your budget is $500 you can get some extra goodies with your Bebop. You’ll get the optional controller and some FPV goggles for an immersive experience. The Bebop uses a super wide field of view camera to capture pictures and video and then stabilizes the image using electronic image stabilization software. Like the Spark, you can fly the Bebop with just your smartphone, but again we recommend picking up the optional remote for better control and range. The Bebop is lighter than the Spark and has some interesting safety features as well. The Bebop will give you an impressive 25 minute flight time. If you can get a good deal on a Bebop 2 then it is definitely worth looking into. Learn more about the Parrot Bebop 2 drone HERE.
|Order a Parrot Bebop 2 from Amazon|
|Order a Parrot Bebop 2 Bundle from Amazon|
The Xiaomi Mi Drone
Xiaomi is an innovative Chinese company and when they released the Mi drone their hope was to take the DJI Phantom Series on head-to-head. Unfortunately for them, DJI had already established a loyal customer base and the Mi drone never really took off. (pun intended) But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good drone. With a 4K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, the Xiaomi Mi is a very capable quadcopter. The Mi boasts a 27 minute flight time and a range of 2000 meters. Typically this drone is more expensive on Amazon, but often you can get a good deal from Banggood. Learn more about the Mi Drone HERE.
|Order a Xiaomi Mi Drone from Amazon|
|Order a Xiaomi Mi Drone from Banggood|
You could always look into purchasing a used Phantom. However, buying a used drone can be a tricky situation. Unless you know the person you are dealing with or you get some kind of warranty we wouldn’t recommend it. If you are willing to stretch your budget we’d recommend looking into the DJI Mavic Air. It is a small and compact drone with impressive video capabilities. Learn more about the DJI Mavic Air HERE.
Every month we update what we believe are the best drones on the market. Check out Best Drones Now. We have also created the one-of-a-kind Half Chrome Drone Cipher™. You answer a few questions and we’ll pair you with the best drone for you.
|Best Drones Now|
Do you want to search by price? Click on your menu above or we can break it down for you. Check out drones under $50, from $50-100, from $100-200, from $200-500 or over $500. Maybe you like a good Top Ten list, we’ve got you covered.
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If you want to learn more about taking great pictures or flying FPV then check out our comprehensive guides on those topics. Also take a look at our articles on how to choose the right drone for great aerial photos or for getting started flying race drones. Learn more about drones and how to get the most out of them in our Drone Academy. In the Academy we also detail some of the advanced testing we do, including our recent addition, drone thrust testing.
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