Today, we will be focusing on premium models that, you’ve guessed it, have premium price tags to their names. But, don’t despair if your budget isn’t that deep – there are a few models that go for much less than $1000… but still, provide somewhat of premium-grade performance.
Table: The best drones under $1000
|10. MJX Bugs 3||No||300m||15min||See best offer|
|9. Potensic D85||720p||1.2km||20min||See best offer|
|8. HStone HS720||2K||800m||25min||See best offer|
|7. Ruko F11||1080p||1.2km||25min||See best offer|
|6. DJI Mavic Mini||2.7K||4km||30min||See best offer|
|5. Parrot Anafi||4K||4km||25min||See best offer|
|4. Hubsan Zino||4K||4km||20min||See best offer|
|3. DJI Mavic Air||4K||4km||20min||See best offer|
|2. Autel EVO||4K||7km||28min||See best offer|
|1. DJI Mavic Pro||4K||7km||26min||See best offer|
On the other hand, for all of you who just want to buy the very best drone out there so they can play with it and fly it around wherever you want… my oh my, we have a couple of special treats for you… But, before jumping straight to the list, first, we have to make sure you get your expectations straight. That’s why I came up with a couple of introductory chapters that will guide you through the most important aspects.
10. MJX Bugs 3
MJX Bugs 3 is the oldest drone on this list but has definitely aged well. It still brings forth a ton of entertainment but can pose as a solid all-around entry-level aerial photography solution too. There are plenty of Bugs 3 listings on Amazon, but the one we’ve linked below delivers the optimal package. So, if you like what you see about this hefty drone, make sure you check it out!
Camera and Features
As you can see, MJX Bugs 3 does not come with a camera. Yep, it’s one of the rare drones these days that don’t come with one. And while many people won’t appreciate this, I for one do. How come? Well, in my opinion, not having a camera is better than having an awful camera, it’s as simple as that.
But how can this drone be a viable entry-level aerial photography solution? Well, believe it or not, MJX Bugs 3 comes with a handy mount that supports all sorts of action cameras, including Go Pro’s. The vibration-dampening system isn’t ideal, but if coupled with a decent-enough action camera, MJX Bugs 3 can definitely provide decent aerial footage.
As for the specs, MJX Bugs 3 can handle around 300 meters of operating range. You can even get FPV with this thing, but that solely depends on your action camera and whether or not it supports the wireless video downlink function. Battery duration is capped at 15 minutes, although don’t be surprised if you end up getting slightly less than that with an action camera on board.
9. Potensic D85
Don’t be scared, Potensic D85 doesn’t bite! Yes, it kinda looks like it does with its aggressive design, but we’re talking about a pretty stable drone here, excellent for beginners and people looking to get into aerial photography. You can even mount a GoPro on it if the default camera isn’t good enough for you.
Camera and Features
And it probably isn’t, because Potensic D85 features a dedicated camera shooting in what seems to be an upscaled 720p resolution. It’s marketed as 2K FHD, but as soon as you lay your eyes on the footage, you’ll know it’s nowhere near FHD. The vibration isn’t that big of an issue, as much as the too sharp footage with a ton of jagged edges and lines.
Features-wise, Potensic D85 has FPV that goes up to around 700 meters, which is great for a price of under $300. Additionally, there’s also GPS as well as the usual bunch of features such as altitude hold, return to home, and failsafe. There are a few more autonomous options you can choose from, bringing the overall features department to a pretty admirable level.
You don’t have to worry about going out of range with this one. Thanks to the sophisticated transmission/receiver system, Potensic D85 can outfly a kilometer without any issues. Heck, some users have started reporting close to 1.5 kilometers of LoS distance, which is outright crazy at this price point. The battery is solid too, delivering around 20 minutes of moderate flying. Double that number and you’ll get 40 minutes, thanks to an extra battery provided in the base Potensic D85 package. All in all, this little bugger definitely deserves its place in our best drones under $1000 list.
8. Holy Stone HS720
Holy Stone HS720 is a portable bugger, capable of delivering excellent specs and numerous advanced features at a highly competitive price point. It has a camera too, but it won’t sweep you off your feet with its sharpness and smoothness. Instead of beating around the bushes, let’s jump straight to Holy Stone HS720 and see why it’s one of the best drones you can buy for under $1000. Well under $1000, mind you!
Camera and Features
Let’s start with the camera. As hinted above, Holy Stone HS720 doesn’t feature one of those state-of-the-art sensors that you’ll find on high-end models. Instead, we’re looking at one of those 2K FHD sensors that are somewhat solid for casual users. If you want any kind of professional-grade photography out of your drone, Holy Stone HS720 won’t be able to cut it.
On the bright side, Holy Stone HS720 offers a completely different tale in the features spectrum. Not only does it have GPS, but it also runs on brushless motors (much more durable than their brushed counterparts), 2 night lights, positioning sensors, and a couple of useful flight modes, including a return to home and follow me.
Specifications – #8 Best drone under $1000
Holy Stone HS720’s range took down the tests pretty well. In an orderly fashion, some would say. You can’t expect a few kilometers here, of course, seeing as this is a $300 device, but with cca 800 meters of lag-free range, I can’t say I was disappointed. Yes, the battery duration is good too, capping at around 25 minutes. Not too shabby, don’t you agree?
7. Ruko F11
Ruko F11 is coming right up! We’re looking at a foldable bugger here, featuring a solid camera, but making up for it with exceptional specs and features. It’s one of the cheapest drones on this list, too, coming in at around $300. Overall, a great package that’s well worth the money!
Camera and Features
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – Ruko F11’s camera might offer FHD footage, but it’s not that smooth in execution. While it’s still better than most similarly priced drones, it features way too much visible vibration which messes up the overall quality. That said, if the primary reason for you buying a new drone is aerial photography, then DJI Mavic Mini poses as a much better solution.
Still, Ruko F11 has some stellar features to its tally. For instance, it delivers excellent GPS connectivity, paving the way for smooth flight controls and no hiccups along the way. It also sports the usual set of features like altitude hold, follow me, auto return to home, and a bunch more. You’ll have plenty of stuff to explore once you get your hands on the brand.new Ruko F11.
Ruko F11’s specifications make up for the lack in the camera department. With roughly 25 to 30 minutes of flight time, Ruko F11 is a great example of what a proper battery size/weight ratio should be. The range isn’t half bad either, capping at 500 for FPV and around 1.2 kilometers for the controls. All around a great package, if you can suffer through the mediocre camera quality.
6. DJI Mavic Mini
Now let’s take a closer look at one of the hottest foldable drones in 2019! This little bugger is bound to leave a mark on the entire drone scene, delivering outright sick performances and camera quality at an extremely aggressive price point. As the heading suggests, I’m referring to the DJI Mavic Mini, one of the best price/performance drones, period.
Camera and Features
The biggest problem people point out regarding Mavic Mini is the fact its camera doesn’t support 4K. If that’s really such a big issue for you and shooting 4K content is a must on your end, then the next best thing you can get is the Mavic Air. If, however, you’re satisfied with crystal clear 2.7K footage, then you need nothing more than the all-new DJI Mavic Mini.
In addition to the fully stabilized (hardware and software) aerial footage, DJI Mavic Mini can also go on all sorts of autonomous missions. DJI Go app is as intuitive as always, and this little bugger features plenty of options for you to explore.
Just like the majority of similarly priced drones, DJI Mavic Mini can also fly for up to 4 kilometers. That’s sort of like the industry standard in the mid-tier section these days, and I for one can’t be happier about it. 4 kilometers is just enough, somewhat of a sweet spot for both casual and professional use. Battery duration, on the other hand, is absolutely incredible. This miniature, extremely power-efficient drone can fly for as long as 30 minutes. Yep, 30 freakin’ minutes. If that’s not enough for you, then I don’t know what is…
5. Parrot Anafi
If you’re into uniqueness, then Parrot Anafi is the drone for you! It’s foldable, smart, possesses all the latest and greatest features, and has powerful hardware. However, what sets it apart from all other drones out there is the innovative camera mechanism. Want to hear more about it? Keep on reading then!
Camera and Features
Parrot is known for making unique drones, and their newest model dubbed as Anafi is the perfect example. With a unique camera charming the front portion of the drone, taking up all of the space, it’s able to record straight up. Yep, you’ve read that right – Parrot Anafi’s camera can rotate 180 degrees vertically, enabling wicked aerial perspective that’s bound to sweep you off your feet. Not only that, but this camera can also record 4K HDR footage, with professional-grade quality each and every time.
Obviously, Parrot Anafi is a high-end drone, so it’s not surprising to see a whole heap of advanced features incorporated into its dedicated app. The sky controller has been redesigned too, offering more functions and better coverage (more on that later). For now, let’s just say Parrot Anafi has one of the best sets of camera-based features currently available on market. Yes, including DJI’s lineup!
With around 4 kilometers of coverage, Parrot Anafi is no pushover in the range department. Yes, there are drones that can fly further than that, but in my opinion, 4 kilometers is more than enough for 99% of usage scenarios. As for the battery duration, Anafi can handle up to 25 minutes, which is reasonable considering its firepower and the amount of power its 4K HDR camera draws out. Overall, if you’re looking for an awesome, unique drone, Parrot Anafi is as innovative as they come!
4. Hubsan Zino
Hubsan Zino won our best drones under $500 list thanks to its impressive set of features and specs, as well as a potent 4K camera. It is by far the best drone ever made by Hubsan, and with an aggressive price to its name, Hubsan Zino is on its way to conquering the mid-tier foldable drone market!
Camera and Features
Let’s kick things off with the most important bit – Hubsan Zino’s camera. As hinted above, it’s capable of shooting 4K videos with pretty good results. I’ll even dare to say Hubsan Zino’s footage is suitable for some types of professional use. Yep, it’s that good!
The features department isn’t lacking either. Hubsan Zino has GPS and GLONASS, ensuring ultimate stability no matter your location and the weather conditions. Of course, there’s a fair share of flair here as well, mostly in the form of autonomous camera-based features that will significantly improve your aerial selfie game. The standard features are here as well, and it kind of goes without saying considering everything else Hubsan Zino comes with.
Specs-wise, Hubsan Zino isn’t too far away from the Mavic Mini. They both feature the same range, roughly 4 kilometers. However, Zino’s battery caps at around 20ish minutes, which is slightly less than 10 minutes shorter than Mavic Mini. In Zino’s defense, you can get it bundled with two batteries for roughly the same price you’d end up paying for DJI Mavic Mini.
3. DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic Air is next up on our bucket list. This was DJI’s second foldable drone, released after the original Mavic Pro but before the second generation and Mavic Mini. Considering the quality of the Fly More package, DJI Mavic Air belongs to the high-end list of semi-professional drones. Long story short, DJI Mavic Air has everything you might need and costs well below the $1000 mark.
Camera and Features
DJI Mavic Air sports a potent 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal stabilization. It’s capable of shooting HDR and RAW files, capturing even the slightest of details with impeccable accuracy and sharpness. The footage is as smooth as possible, even supporting fluid 60fps for that ultimate buttery goodness.
Features-wise, DJI Mavic Air sports a whole bunch of DJI quick shot modes for advanced aerial selfies, as well as the usual handy dandy features like GPS-assisted follow me, waypoints, return to home, altitude hold, and more. Obstacle avoidance is here too, with both downward, frontal, and backside sensors. Unfortunately, DJI Mavic Air can’t avoid obstacles when flying sideways, which is what most of its advanced selfie modes use.
The second foldable drone by DJI has slightly inferior features to its big brother, the original DJI foldable drone, the Mavic Pro. We’re looking at roughly 4 kilometers of operating range if you opt for the Fly More Combo that comes with the dedicated controller. Add to that roughly 20 minutes of flight time (60, considering the three included batteries), and a superb 4K camera, and you’ll realize what a wonderful deal the DJI Mavic Air Fly More package is!
2. Autel Robotics EVO
Yep, as you can probably see now, DJI Mavic Pro is still the best drone under $1000. However, there’s a small change in the runner-up spot. Autel Robotics EVO is the new arrival, featuring an exceptional package packed with accessories for just a few bucks over our $1000 limit. This package is a proper steal, to be honest, and if you’re thinking of spending exactly $1000 on a drone, you can’t really go wrong with either EVO or Mavic Pro.
Camera and Features
The biggest thing with Autel Robotics EVO camera is its bandwidth. This thing captures 4K footage at 60 frames per second, delivering exceptional smoothness combined with crystal clarity. For professional and casual uses alike, Autel Robotics EVO is one of the best mainstream packages at the moment.
The GPS/GLONASS systems are present, just like they were on the age-old Autel Robotics X-Star Premium. There’s also a 3.3-inch OLED display featuring intuitive controls and FPV footage up to 7 kilometers. Yep, 7 kilometers, just like the best DJI drones out there. Advanced vision tracking features are here as well, led by a superb follow-me mode that’s pretty difficult to lose track of.
As stated above, both FPV and operating range of Autel Robotics EVO go up to around 7 kilometers. The battery duration is solid too, capping out at around 28 to 30 minutes, depending on how far you push this bad boy. The best thing is, if you’re going for that $1000+ bundle, you’ll get two additional batteries as well as a bunch of propellers, landing pads, and a carrying case. If you’re starting your own drone business, that might just be the best drone deal for slightly above $1000!
1. DJI Mavic Pro – The best drone under $1000
Feast your eyes, ladies, and gentlemen, because we have finally reached the best drone that you can purchase under the $1000 mark. Of course, there wasn’t any real competition for DJI Mavic Pro, an absolutely magnificent foldable drone that isn’t shy when it comes to showing off its abundance of features. So, without much further adue, let’s check this baby out and see why exactly is it considered the best under $1000 drone currently available on the market!
Camera and Features
Moreover, DJI Mavic Pro also bears an incredible number of features at its disposal. We’re talking about several autonomous flight modes, GPS, obstacle avoidance, altitude hold, facial recognition and many more. Combine all that with a fully-fledged 4K camera with its own dedicated 3-axis gimbal and you’ll begin to understand why it’s the favorite drone of choice for aerial photographers all around the globe. And for that reason, DJI Mavic Pro deservedly stands tall at the number 1 spot!
Surely the best thing about DJI Mavic Pro is its incredibly compact design. Furthermore, it’s foldable as well, allowing you to pack it with ease and transport it wherever you please. The fun starts with the fact DJI Mavic Pro does not have any compromises in terms of specifications due to its incredibly small size factor. On the contrary, it is an outright beast. With up to 7 kilometers of operating range and roughly 27 minutes of airtime, DJI Mavic Pro can go head-to-head with the best out there.
What are the average specifications of the best drones under $1000:
If you’re looking to buy a drone under $1000, I’ll presume you’re aiming at somewhere around $700-$1000. Luckily, there are plenty of models in this price range and you will have a lot to choose from. Ultimately, that does not have to necessarily be a good thing since some of you won’t be able to make up your minds. This is due to an incredible number of top-flight models, all of which have somewhat similar performance…
With that in mind, you should still be on the lookout for “scam” drones that look pretty, and have good reviews… but fail miserably when it comes to performance. That’s why I’ve decided to give you some general insight about what to look for while purchasing your drone. So, let’s jump straight to the action!
The camera quality on the best drones under $1000
If you are looking for an amateur aerial photography platform, then you have to make sure your drone has an above-average camera. By above average, I mean that it should at least have a solid 12MPX sensor that’s capable of recording in FHD or 4K. Make sure your drone has a CMOS and not CCD camera – it will give you much better image quality. On a side note, if you’re serious about your aerial photography, it might be good to examine the image stabilization solution of your drone-to-be. Look for 3-axis or 2-axis gimbals because typical software image stabilization isn’t exactly the best method.
Flight time on the best drones under $1000
Even though you can always go ahead and buy additional batteries if you’re paying slightly under $1000 for your next drone, you should make sure it has at least 20 minutes of airtime. If it’s less than that, mark my words – you’ll spend more time waiting for the batteries to recharge than actually flying your drone. Don’t say I did not warn you![/tab]
Features on the best drones under $1000
In terms of features, one thing is for sure – you should not settle for a drone that lacks GPS or GLONASS. This is the most crucial feature on which your entire flying experience heavily depends. Let me elaborate on that a bit further – you see, GPS allows a huge variety of additional features including smart flight modes, follow me, return to home and even altitude hold in some cases. Other things you should look for are obstacle avoidance sensors and hardware imaging stabilization in the form of 3-axis gimbals.
Flight range on the best drones under $1000
The operating range represents the geographical area around your transmitter, inside of which your drone can fly freely without any interference or lag issues. In this price range, you should ideally look for more than 1 or even 2 kilometers. For reference, the newest DJI models have 7 kilometers which is absolute overkill for most real-life scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions about drones under $1000:
Are there any high-end drones under $1000?
Yes, this list is definitely filled with high-end drones. As a matter of fact, it would be crazy if it was not since we’re talking about under $1000 drones here. Still, not all drones featured below can be considered high-end. The first 3 models, even though they are awesome in their own right, cannot be placed into the same basket with premium drones such as Yuneec Typhoon H or DJI Mavic Pro.
Can I use drones under $1000 for aerial photography?
There’s a simple answer to this question and that’s a loud and clear – yes! If you’re an amateur (or even a semi-professional), aerial photographer, there’s no doubt any of the below-listed drones can help you capture perfect aerial shots and videos. That’s because most of them come with hardware image stabilization in combination with top-quality cameras which get the job done quickly and with buttery smoothness.
Are drones under $1000 compatible with FPV goggles?
Even though this cannot be said for all drones featured on this list, most of them indeed have full support for FPV goggles. However, if you would like to buy FPV goggles but you don’t know which ones to go for, I am afraid I cannot give you a straight-out answer. That’s because it all depends on the type of frequency your drone emits FPV video feed through. So, if you want more precise answers, you’ll have to examine the manual of your drone once it arrives… but for the most part, you should look into the most popular FPV brands such as Fat Shark which have a ton of great models to choose from.
What about drone insurance?
If you are using your drone for commercial purposes or you’re planning on doing just that in the near future, then I warmly recommend getting an insurance policy for it. Similar to car insurance, drone insurance policies will cover all damage and liability costs in case of an accident. As a matter of fact, many clients will require you to have drone insurance before doing business with you. Furthermore, by getting yourself a drone insurance policy, you are showing thorough professionalism and you’re bound to attract more clients in the future.[/toggle]
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