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 : Monday, January 9, 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 BUCKS :

NameImageCameraFlight timeControl rangePrice
DJI PHANTOM 1DJI-Phantom-1GoPro ready15 minutes0.8kmSee price
XK DETECT X380xk-detect-x380GoPro ready30 minutes1kmSee price
WALKERA QR X350WALKERA-QR-X350GoPro ready25 minutes2kmSee price
WLTOYS V303wltoys-v303GoPro ready15 minutes500 metersSee price
XIRO XPLORERxiro-xplorer-vcustom18 minutes1kmSee price
PARROT BEBOP 2parrotbebop2drone227514 MP20 minutes0.3kmSee price
WALKERA F210walkera-f210Sony FPV10 minutes1kmSee price
UPAIR ONEupair-one4K20 minutes500 metersSee price
3DR SOLO3dr-solo-drone-300x196GoPro ready20 minutes800 metersSee price
TRAXXAS 7909 ATONtraxxas-atonGoPro ready22 minutes1kmSee price
DJI PHANTOM 3dji-phantom-3-standard12 MP20 minutes3kmSee price

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.

Check price on Amazon
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

 

7- 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

 

6- Parrot Bebop 2

parrot bebop 2

Bebop 2 : Amazon.com

Parrot 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

 

5- 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!

Check price on Amazon
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

 

4- 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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3- 3DR Solo

3dr-solo-droneThis 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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2- Traxxas 7909 Aton

traxxas aton

Traxxas Aton : Amazon.com

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?

Check price on Amazon
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

 

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.

Check price on Amazon
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

 

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

by Anthony Turner time to read: 9 min
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