Let’s face it – you’d like to get your hands on a capable drone but you need it to be lighter than .55lbs so you don’t have to register it. We get it, we get it! You’re not alone – tons of people are only targeting drones under 250 grams specifically because of the fact the US, Europe, Australia, and the UK deem them as totally harmless.
But, long gone are the times when lightweight drones carried only toy-grade models in their ranks. These days, AAA drone manufacturers like DJI are coming up with very capable models that deliver prosumer performance without registration requirements. We’re talking fully-fledged aerial photography machinery here; 4K cameras, 3-axis gimbal systems, long-range – everything!
These days, drones under .55 lbs (250 grams) really can do lots of things their much heavier brethren can… though there are certain caveats which we’ll discuss later on! For now, let’s focus on the drones!
Table: 5 Drones Under 250 Grams (.55 lbs)
|5. HStone F181W||720p||100m||10min||Check Price|
|4. HStone HS510||4K||500m||15min||Check Price|
|3. Syma X500||4K||2km||18min||Check Price|
|2. DJI Mavic Mini||2.7K||4km||28min||Check Price|
|1. DJI Mini 2||4K||8km||30min||Check Price|
Let’s waste no more precious time – here are the best drones you can buy in 2022 that are under 250 grams or .55 pounds.
Holy Stone F181 is the first drone on our list here. Mind you, this is a toy drone. It’s affordable, it’s easily replaceable, and best of all – fun to fly. You don’t even have to worry about breaking it – it’s dirt cheap! It does have a camera, though its usability is something we’ll discuss later on. All in all, if you’re just looking for a drone that your kids can play around with, look no further than this one!
Camera Isn’t Exactly Good
Yes, this bugger does come with a camera. HD camera mind you. But, there’s virtually no stabilization and the sensor itself is outright garbage. I know, I know, I’m being too harsh – this is a toy drone. But, I just want you to know the facts. If you want something that can actually shoot half-decent aerial footage, look away and never come back! But, on the other hand, if you’re looking to purchase a drone for kids, this affordable option is a no-brainer!
As for the features, this thing has some interesting stuff that your kids will absolutely enjoy! We’re talking voice and gesture control. They might not always work as intended, but they’re going to provide a lot of fun for the little ones. Specs-wise, we’re looking at 20ish minutes with both provided batteries. Range-wise you’ll be getting around 50 to 100 meters of operating and video transmission.
Last but not least, this thing has altitude hold too. It’s not GPS-based, mind you, but it works pretty well considering the price tag. There are some added extras too – a carrying backpack, an extra battery, and prop guards. Mind you, though, keep them off during windy weather.
Here we have another Holy Stone Drone. This is another miniature bugger, even smaller than the previously mentioned F181W. But, it’s double the price, which must mean it has more range, better battery duration, and even a better camera. Realistically, anything is better than the F181W.
Yes, the camera is miles better than on the previous model. Well yeah, those extra $100 bucks needed to go somewhere, right? This is a 4K sensor, with both image and video transmission quality being on a pretty admirable level for this price point. Plus, even though it doesn’t have any proper camera stabilization system, the footage isn’t all that shaky. True, you can’t get the camera to rotate where you want it to – that’s a feature that’ll set you back for a lot more than cca $200.
Is it Worth the Money?
The real question is – can HS510 justify the price tag? Well, I reckon it can! It’s a mid-range drone; you can’t expect AAA performance from it, but its camera, transmission, and flight capabilities are actually pretty good. Mind you, you’re getting brushless motors here, built-in GPS with a return to home, an extra battery, and lag-free video transmission that stands proudly at around 1500 feet or 450ish meters.
Let’s not forget about the features too. TapFly AKA Point of Interest, Follow me, Pathways – it’s all here. These are advanced features that were, just a few years ago, available only on premium AKA flagship models. This here is an affordable, mid-range device. Sure, it does lack image stabilization, but you can’t really hold that against it.
3. Syma X500
Next up, Syma X500! Yessir, Syma is still a popular brand in the lower end of the drone market. This foldable Mavic copy is one of many reasons why. For starters, it’s affordable, not too shabby, and comes with an extra battery that’s often one of the key selling points for drones in this price range. Does it have more aces up its sleeves? Let’s find out!
This thing has GPS! That’s right – Holy Stone HS510 is not the only drone at this price point that sports GPS. In fact, there are other models too, though these two are the best all-around options. As far as the performance goes, you can expect more than half an hour of flight time with both batteries, but make sure you take a shorter break in between flights.
Worth the Money
In many ways similar to Holy Stone HS510, I reckon Syma X500 is well worth the money. I mean, you’re getting GPS, brushless motors, an extra battery, and a whole bunch of smart features. Oh, I didn’t even mention that, did I? Believe it or not, Syma X500 sports much of the same features as the HS510. It’s what this new generation of mid-tier drones is all about – smart, GPS-powered features and extra accessories like batteries and carrying backpacks.
Now we’re approaching the big boys! The above-mentioned trio was low to mid-end drones under 250 grams or .55 lbs. Now we’re going to take a closer look at by far the two most advanced sub 250g drones that you can purchase right now. Of course, they’re both made by DJI – as if it was ever in question.
Superb Aerial Photography
The most important factor here is not the camera! It’s the system it is mounted on. We’re looking at a 3-axis gimbal here, similar to the ones that come on much bigger (and pricier) flagships. That, combined with a 2.7K sensor which provides smooth and sharp footage, makes DJI Mavic Mini so darn good.
If you are buying a drone for the sole purpose of recording family gatherings from the air, then DJI Mavic Mini is the perfect option. Its camera is a level above everything we’ve touched upon thus far – we’re not even exaggerating here!
Combine all that with smart features a la DJI. We’re talking about everything the above-featured drones had but massively improved, both qualitatively and quantitatively. DJI is no stranger to perfecting the smart features game, and these two drones under .55lbs are the perfect example!
1. DJI Mini 2
If you think DJI Mavic Mini is cool, wait till you hear more about the DJI Mini 2. Despite not having Mavic in its name, we’re looking at the spiritual successor of the above-featured bugger. It is hands down the best drone under 250 grams (.55lbs) at the moment, sporting best-in-class features, specifications, and pretty much everything else. It’s the best all-around package, real talk, so if you have issues with the FAA and you don’t want to register your drone no matter the cost, then DJI Mini 2 is what you should buy!
Opt for the Fly More Combo
If you’re able to increase your budget for another $200ish above the original Mavic Mini, you should get yourself the current-gen sub 250g flagship in DJI Mini 2! The Fly More Combo is what I’m referring to here – it comes with a bunch of goodies that’ll make your life a lot easier, two extra batteries being the focal point.
Camera-wise, this thing packs quite the punch with buttery smooth 4K videos and 12MP photos. You can’t get anything even remotely close to DJI Mini 2’s recording qualities under 250 grams, that’s for sure!
Specs and Features
As for the specs and features, you don’t have to worry about anything regarding the latter. While it does lack obstacle avoidance, Mini 2 has pretty much everything else from the DJI features’ portfolio. Specs-wise, it can reach astonishing 6 miles and fly for around half an hour per battery charge. But don’t you forget – if you opt for the Fly More Combo, you’ll be getting two extra batteries which will effectively raise the flight duration to an hour and a half.
Can You Fly a Drone Under 250 Grams Anywhere?
Well, technically, you can’t fly them anywhere because of FAA’s aerial space regulations. There are no-fly zones that you have to pay attention to if you don’t want to get fined. But, that still gives you plenty of freedom, really. A s for other scenarios, you must know that you aren’t supposed to fly your drones over massive crowds, but you are allowed to fly a drone above uninvolved people.
Do FAA Rules Apply to Drones Under 250 Grams?
While drones under 250 grams don’t have to be registered and carry their ID, they do need to follow other rules instituted by the FAA. As mentioned earlier, you still have to fly them in your line of sight, you are not allowed to fly them above crowds… though you are allowed to fly them above uninvolved individuals.
Do I Need a Drone License Under 250 Grams?
No, you do not. Drones under 250 grams have been widely accepted as “harmless” and, as such, don’t require their owners to register them and stick on the ID. This isn’t too big of a hassle nowadays, but still – many people don’t want to deal with the FAA.
In fact, not only are these laws set up in the USA, but across a wide variety of other countries, including the UK, Australia, and the EU. If you’re living in one of these countries and you don’t want to go through additional steps to fly your drone around, then buying one of these lightweight drones under .55lbs is a no-brainer!
Drones Under .55 lbs (250 Grams) | Answering the Most Common Questions
We aren’t done with this piece just yet! We still have to answer a couple of common questions related to drones under .55 lbs. Here’s what our readers are the most interested in:
What is the Best Drone under 250 Grams with a 4K Camera?
There aren’t that many options here, but by far the best one is definitely the all-new DJI Mini 2. It’s the ultimate drone under .55lbs, featuring not just a spectacular 4K camera but additional quirks like DJI smart flight modes, photography shenanigans, and more.
What is the best Drone under 250 Grams with Obstacle Avoidance?
Unfortunately, there’s still not a single sub 250 grams drone with functioning obstacle avoidance. DJI Mini 2 was supposed to have front obstacle avoidance, but rumor has it that it was dropped at the very last minute.
What is the Best Drone under 250 Grams with Follow Me?
Believe it or not, lots of drones under .55lbs are marketed in a way that suggests they have the Follow Me feature. However, only a handful actually possess that ability – the rest are just full of it… As for the very best drone under 250 grams that does have follow me, DJI Mini 2 effortlessly takes the title.
What is the Best Drone under 250 Grams with Gimbal?
Not a lot of drones under 250 grams come with a functioning, motorized gimbal. Lots of them come with those tiltable vibration dampeners, but that’s nowhere near the performance of a 2-axis or 3-axis system. DJI Mini 2, once again, takes the title! It has a superb 4K camera that might not have the best bitrate but will get the job done much better than any other sub 250g model.
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