Top 10 drones you can buy for less than $500 [2017]

Welcome to another great article in our series of affordable quadcopters! As the drone industry grows, people seek for more powerful UAV’s with more functions and better capabilities (check out our homepage for the list of top 10 quads for sale).

Some prices may have changed since publishing this article.

Last update : Saturday, April 1, 2017

Since this industry has boomed we have come to see many new products and advances in technology. Today I bring you list of top 10 drones under $500. If your budget is not that high, why don’t you take a look at the best  affordable drones or maybe top 10 drones for less than $100. Now it’s time to find out what is the best drone under $500, follow us as we unveil these air machines packed with great advanced features.

Table of Best drones under 500$ :

NameImageCameraRangeTimeBest Price
10. XIRO MINI1080p100m15 minSee price now
9. XIRO XPLORERxiro-xplorer-vcustom1km18 minSee price now
8. PARROT BEBOP 214 MP0.3km20 minSee price now
7. WALKERA F210walkera-f210Sony1km10 minSee price now
6. AP10 PRO1080p500m25 minSee price now
5. UPAIR ONEupair-one4K500m20 minSee price now
4 .3DR SOLO3dr-solo-drone-300x196GoPro800m20 minSee price now
3. TRAXXAS 7909 ATONGoPro1km22 minSee price now
2. Hubsan H109s1080p1km25 minSee price now
1. DJI PHANTOM 3dji-phantom-3-standard12 MP3km20 minSee price now

 

10- Xiro Xplorer Mini

Newest drone from Xiro, comes after widely successful Xiro Xplorer V. There are a lot of things that makes this drone different from it’s predecessor. We’ll start off with size, Xiro Xplorer Mini is significantly smaller than Xplorer V. Xplorer Mini is 12 inches wide. It’s also very portable because of folding arms.  In package you’ll also get small bag to carry it around, it can fit any bag without problems. Since it weights only 0.46kg (16.23oz) you won’t even feel it in your bag. Xiro Xplorer Mini comes with 1080p (13 megapixels) camera. It supports FPV and can live stream video to your smartphone. Xiro app comes with many cool features, newest one is “one click sharing on social media”.  GPS/GLONASS dual-satellite system will give you necessary safety for outdoor flights, while the indoor visual positioning allows safe hovering and flight control without GPS. Xiro Xplorer Mini does have all common features such a Auto return home, Lost connection protection, Low power protection etc. When it comes to flight time, you can expect it to be somewhere around 15 minutes in average.

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Features Specifications
Foldable Flight time : 15 minutes
Dual batteries Control range : 100 meters
GPS Camera : 1080p

 

9- XIRO Xplorer Aerial

Xiro Xplorer V

Xiro Xplorer V

Xplorer Aerial may not be one of the most known drones but it sure has awesome features. Such as “Follow Me” Mode, this function allows the drone to follow a selected target automatically. Great for aerial video where you want the camera to be recording the same moving object. Other cool features are “Circle Around Me”, meaning the drone will circle around a pre-determined point, Return to Base function, among many others. Xplorer Aerial also has vibration alerts on the controller to warn you when battery is running low. The 5,200-mAh lithium polymer battery is built-in and not removable.

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Features Specifications
Easy upgradeable to camera version Remote frequency: 2.4GHz
Follow me function Control distance: 1000 meters
Circle around me function Flight time : 18 minutes
Return to base Charging time : 2 hours
Vibration alerts Vertical speed : 6m/s  Horizontal speed : 15m/s
Drone size: 37 x 35 x 16cm

 

8- Parrot Bebop 2

parrot-bebop-2Parrot Bebop 2 is one of the best looking quadcopters. But it’s not just design that stands out, Bebop is loaded with awesome features. Made of ABS Plastic, heat-resistant, lightweight and impact resistant, to ensure great resistance it is reinforced with glass fiber. Bebop is a high performance quad, using four brushless motors, able to fly 13 meters per second horizontally. The 14MP camera is built-in and has a recording angle of 180º. It is controlled only by smartphone or tablet, allowing FPV (real time video) directly to your device’s screen. If you opt to buy Skycontroller Remote from Parrot manufacture, Bebop flight range will increase among other extra features. Parrot Bebop also took its place on our list of best drones for sale.

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Features Specifications
14MP Built in FPV Camera Remote frequency : 2.4GHz
Glass fiber material Control distance:  300 meters (2KM with Skycontroller)
Skycontroller remote compatible Flight time : 20 to 22 minutes
Autopilot Charging time : 120 minutes
GPS Top speed : 38mph
Return to home; Brushless motors

 

7- Walkera F210

walkera f210 racing drone

Amazon.com

This is not Walkera’s first entry into the drone racing market, they have previously released Runner 250 and Furious 320. F210 is light and fast while still being amazingly strong. F210’s design is based on anti-collision and anti-drop mechanics, a very robust racer. F210 makes use of four powerful WK-WS-28-014A 2500kv brushless motors. It includes a 1 million pixels 700TVL camera with adjustable 120º angle, night vision and FPV. Racers will be looking forward to fly this new racing drone. If you wish to become a drone racer, F210 is a definitely a good start!

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Features : Specifications :
800TVL Night Vision Sony Camera Remote Frequency: 2.4Ghz
Brushless motors Control Distance: 1000 meters
FPV Antenna Flight time : 8 to 9 minutes
Night vision Charging Time: 120 minutes
Drone Size: 18.2 x 18.2 x 10.3 cm

 

6- AP10 Pro

Manufactured by AEE Technology, AP10 Pro is one of few drones that offer the best value/money ratio. I remember when I first started flying drones few years ago, we could only dream about getting machine with this specifications for $300. Let’s start off with camera, AP10 Pro comes with 1080p Full HD camera. It can capture videos at 60 FPS and take still images in 16MP resolution. They created 90 degree capable vertical tilt camera with live first person view streaming to your smartphone. AEE Technology put a lot of effort to create stable, semi autonomous drone. That’s why they implemented automatic position hold and hover functions. AP10 Pro comes with solid 10 inch propellers that will provide you maximum flight stability and maneuverability. Declared top speed is 44 MPH, while cruising velocity is 20-30 MPH. When it comes to battery and flight time, I’m happy to inform you that AP10 Pro comes with 5300 mAh “intelligent” battery that should provide you with up to 25 minutes of flight time. I should also mention that control range is 500 meters. All in all, really powerful drone that (in my opinion) offers great value for the money. It’s ideal for everyone looking for relatively advanced drone with quality camera for still affordable price.

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5- UpAir One with 4K camera

upair-oneUPair did a great job with their newest drone. The starting model comes a bit cheaper but it doesn’t come with a high-quality action camera capable of shooting at 4K. With this in mind, we strongly recommend you splash out a couple of extra bucks and go for the $350 version that packs quite a bit of accessories. There is no doubt that it is a great deal, especially considering you’ll get a 7 inch LED screen on top of the controller (which, by the way, looks really awesome) for FPV monitoring. Alongside a strange build structure and clean nice finish, this drone possesses a great GPS system that provides optimal stability. Its camera is on par with more expensive drones in terms of quality and is able to shoot pro quality aerial footage. For about $350 you will get a beautiful looking drone that can travel for around 500 meters without any lag issues, and can be up in the air for almost 20 minutes… 18 to be more precise. All things considered, there’s no doubt that UPair did their best.

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4- 3DR Solo

This is one of the most popular drones for GoPro cameras. For $500 not only will you get a brand new 3DR Solo drone, but you’ll also enjoy a hard-carrying case, 8 props, GoPro gimbal and an extra battery. Sounds good, right? It is marketed as the smartest drone currently available on the market due to the fact it runs on 2 processors. One of them is located inside the drone while the other one is inside its dedicated controller. They work via a dedicated WiFi signal which allows for greater responsiveness and improved connection range. It is equipped with several Smart Shot modes which will enable the drone to fly all by itself, allowing you to control on getting the perfect shot time and time again. Specification-wise, 3DR Solo’s flight time is around 20 minutes while its flight range is more than decent – 800 meters.

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3- Traxxas 7909 Aton

Now for the number two on our list! The powerful Traxxas 7909 Aton. Traxxas is USA based company that’s famous for their RC cars, trucks. It looks like they’ll became famous for drones too. Aton comes with a 5000mAh 3-cell LiPo battery, it should provide you with 20 to 25 minutes of flight time (with camera). Also, it comes with a 2-Axis gimbal that’s designed to work with GoPro and other action cameras.

Aton is loaded with many features : One key return, GPS, Dual mode GPS, LED lights, air brake etc. It’s important to say that Aton has 3 different flight modes : Film mode, Sport mode and Expert mode. This drone is definitely a great choice for any drone enthusiast wanting to get into more professional quadcopters. Do you agree, is Traxxas 7909 Aton the best drone under $500?

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Features Specifications
Gimblar support for GoPro Remote frequency : 2.4GHz
Autopilot Control distance: 1000 meters
GPS Flight time: 25 minutes
Return to home Charging time : 100 minutes
Led lights 3 flight modes
Air brake

 

2- Hubsan H109S X4 Pro

Hubsan-H109S-X4-ProThis is most advanced drone Hubsan has made, ever. It comes with all modern features such a GPS, headless mode, altitude hold mode, automatic return, follow me mode etc. H109S comes in two different versions : standard and high. Here we’re talking about standard version. Difference is : gimbal, standard version comes with 1 Axis Gimbal rotation while High version comes with 3 Axis Gimbal rotation. When it comes to camera, Hubsan didn’t disappoint. H109S X4 Pro comes with 1080p HD camera, and it does support live video transmission to remote controller. I should also mention that remote controller comes with Android 4.2 OS, it has plenty of options and features that will make your life easier. Everything is well designed and intuitive, so you shouldn’t have problems using it. Flight time of Hubsan H109S X4 Pro is somewhere around 25 minutes. Hubsan claims it’s ~30 minutes but I believe 25 is little more realistic.

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Features Specifications
GPS Camera : 1080p
Follow me Flight time : 25 minutes
Altitude hold Weight : 17 LB
Automatic landing Range : 1000 meters

 

1- DJI Phantom 3 Standard

phantom-3-standard

Amazon.com

DJI’s most recent upgrade to Phantom 2. The Phantom 3! We all have been waiting for this and it’s finally here! On this list we are discussing the Standard version, the most affordable of the three (Advanced and Professional). Phantom 3 standard package includes its own 2.7K camera! So expect to obtain great quality video. Phantom 3 is packed with great features, such as GPS (which enables auto-pilot flights), FPV (real time video transmission) in very good quality, Follow Me mode (drone will follow targeted person) Point of Interest (fly around an object), among many others. This is not the average quadcopter, DJI Phantom 3 is a sky monster, capable of almost anything, number one choice to almost any videography and photography events professional. Control distance is an outstanding 3.5 to 5KM depending on amount of interference.

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Features : Specifications:
12MP 2.7K Camera Remote Frequency: 2.4Ghz
GPS Control Distance: 3.5 to 5 km
Auto-pilot (waypoints) Flight Time: 25 minutes
Follow Me Charging Time: 2 hours
Point of Interest; Home Lock
Vision Position System; Flight Live Data

 

Drones from 2016 Edition of this list.

11- Dji Phantom 1

DJI Phantom 1

DJI Phantom 1

Phantom 1 is Dji’s first quadcopter and one of the first greatest UAV to hit the market. It’s not the average toy quadcopter. It packs great features and excels in its specifications. Comes with a camera mount suitable for a GoPro 3. It has IOC (Intelligent Orientation Control) meaning the drone is able to memorize its position. Compatible with Naza-M software, for autopilot flights. Amazingly agile quadcopter, easy to maneuver, a little bit harder to master, but thanks to its return to home function you won’t be afraid to fly it too far.

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Features Specifications
Camera mount for GoPro 3 Remote frequency : 2.4GHz
GPS Control distance: 800 meters
Autopilot function Vertical speed : 10 m/s
IOC Horizontal speed : 6m/s
Fail safe Flight time : 15 minutes
Return to home Charging time : 60 to 100 minutes
Drone size : 30 x 30 x 18cm

10- XK Detect X380

xk-detect-x380

XK Detect X380

XK Detect X380 is a WLToys product, an upgrade of the 303 Seeker. XK X380 is an advance from the average toy/hobby to a professional drone. Able to carry a SJ4000 or a GoPro 3, great for aerial photography. Among its feature it has one key take off and one key landing, this is done through a GPS that remembers the X380 position. One of its coolest features is the circle hovering, you can set a radius distance and the drone will fly around the fixed point recording a 360 degree panoramic video. Looking for something more expensive? Read top 10 drones for less than $1000.

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Features Specifications
Gimbal for GoPro 3 Remote frequency : 2.4Ghz
GPS Control distance : 1000 meters
One key take off Flight time : 30 minutes
One key landing Charging time : 2 hours
Return to home Drone size : 30.5 x 30.5 x 21 cm

 

9- Walkera QR X350 Pro with DEVO F7

walkera droneYou probably have already heard about Walkera and the renowned model QR X350 it is a big success in the drone industry. Its powerful DEVO-M GPS system enables great features such as auto-return to home function and (the coolest of them all) Arducopter Mission Planer. In other words, auto-pilot function. Program Waypoints on the map and QR X350 will fly to them automatically while recording video. Another great thing about this quadcopter is the DEVO F7 transmitter with an integrated LCD screen for FPV (real time video) flights. Also, in case it loses connection, a safe function will automatically activate and X350 will return itself to the position of take-off.

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Features Specifications
G-2D Gimbal Remote frequency: 2.4Ghz
GPS Control distance : 2000 meters
One key take off Flight time : 25 minutes
One key landing Charging time : 2 hours
Return to home Altitude and compass sensor
Compatible with Arducopter mission planner Drone size : 28.9 x 28.9 x 20.5cm

For a list of top 10 drones for sale, visit our homepage.

 

8- WLToys V303 Seeker

WLTOYS-V303

WLTOYS-V303

V303 quadcopter is WLToys alternative to DJI Phantom 1. Even though some hobbyists do not yet consider it a professional drone, it does pack some great features. V303 has two flight modes, one enabling the quad to hover perfectly steady over the ground thanks to the enhanced altitude sensors which allow altitude hold, great for aerial video. Other flight mode is manual. But, V303 uses its GPS to allow for autopilot flights, and automatically returning to position of take-off.

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Features Specifications
Camera Mount for GoPro 3 Remote frequency : 2.4Ghz
6-Axis Gyro Control distance : 500 meters
GPS Flight time : 13-15 minutes
Autopilot function Charging time : 2 hours
One key landing Vertical speed : 10.2m/s
Return to home Horizontal speed: 4m/s
Failsafe function Drone size: 30.5 x 30.5 x 21cm

 

 

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Why don’t you take a look at our list of top 10 drones for less than $1000 instead?

What is your favorite quadcopter on this list? Now that you know the features and specifications of the best drones under $500 currently in the market, it’s time for you to make your choice. Choose wisely, pick the one who best fits your areal needs and be ready to take on the sky!

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1 comment

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1

Hey. Can you double check your numbers for the range on the DJI phantom 3? You say 3km. Their website says 1km. I almost bought this drone using your information. Thanks.

Top 10 drones you can buy for less than $500 …

by Vito Dronelli time to read: 13 min
2