The number of drones that are now available for under four figures which deliver the highest quality features in the market is now considerable. We have narrowed down the numerous choices to only the top 15 drones because we felt these summed up the best of what’s available to drone enthusiasts and business users who need the very best technology and have deep enough pockets to afford that.
While it might have been possible to further narrow the field down to the Top 3 or the Best 5 Drones, the truth is that everyone wants something a little different. Some people are looking for a drone that offers the fastest speeds. Other people are mostly interested in producing awesome photography and don’t want to have to buy a GoPro to achieve that. Whatever the case may be, any of the drones given a short review in this buyer’s guide are suitable as a primary flying UAV for business or personal use. You can also choose top 10 drones under 500 and also get a copy of drones under $200
Here are our Best 15 Drones Available for Under $1,000 guide.
15. Zerotech Dobby
The Zerotech Dobby is a portable, foldable UAV that fits into a daypack or a backpack to take it on your travels. The portable nature of this model rivals the more expensive DJI Mavic Pro which also folds down to a smaller size. The compactness is a big draw for the Dobby. Its flight time of 13 minutes and range of 100 meters aren’t the most impressive of the models reviewed here, but that’s the trade-off when sacrificing battery size and weight for portability.
The model has a 4K UHD video camera which delivers some of the best quality video images that you’ll ever hope to see from a drone. These can be beamed back via FPV to view them as a live stream to see exactly what the camera is picking up during a flight. For millennials, the primary use of the Dobby so far has been capturing selfies from a greater distance than a selfie stick will allow. However, this is not the limit of its abilities, of course, with stunning scenery and surrounding shots also possible.
14. Rise Vusion 250
The Rise Vusion 250 is a yellow and black affair that half looks like a NASCAR from the front but actually is a quad copter. The reason for the stark racing car look is that while this model is perfectly usable as a casual flying drone, it also flies quickly enough to be used for racing other drones too. The frame is suitably designed to resist damage from minor impacts. A display is bundled into the box to see the live stream, and a virtual reality headset comes included too in case you want to go totally VR.
The 13 minutes of flying time is fairly good, and while the 200-meter range won’t impress in a category where effective range can go into the thousands of meters, it is enough to run short races. There is a 2-megapixel camera near the front of the drone that captures decent shots, but nothing 1080p or greater. For anyone who wants to own a competitive, first-time owner, racing drone, it’s difficult to go wrong with the Vusion 250.
13. Parrot Bebop 2
The Parrot Bebop 2 is a successor to the popular Bebop 1 drone. The appearance of this model isn’t much different to the original model with its two-tone black and white coloring and unique centerpiece with the camera housed in the nose. The major upgrades are seen with the 22-minute flight duration and range now increased to 2,000 meters.
The camera in the nose of the drone is a 12-megapixel model which has a wider lens and captures 1080p Full HD visuals. It is possible to navigate via either an Android or an iOS smartphone or with the purchase of the Sky controller for an additional cost. The purchase of the controller brings with it an increased range.
For previous owners of the Bebop 1, an upgrade to the Bebop 2 is an easy decision.
12. AEE AP11
The Aee AP11 doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it is a worthy drone worth a look. The model is a low-rise drone with a slimline appearance. The body is white with black banding over the central area, with the AEE logo, and red stripes along two arms. The 6,800m Ah Li-Po battery is a substantial one compared to the competition. The battery powers the 25 minutes of flying time and the range of 500 meters.
The 16-megapixel camera offers excellent photography and Full HD video at 60 FPS. It has a 3-axis gimbal that spins and rotates to balance out the image from the camera and minimize jitters from the drone translating over to the camera image. There is a GPS chip for better navigational accuracy, a fail-safe rescue option to bring the drone home in the event of a problem, and an automatic return to base function.
The AP11 is impressive in several ways, but it stands out particularly for its camera and gimbal setup.
11. Xiro Xplorer Mini
The smaller Xiro Xplorer Mini is a drone that neatly folds away. It has many of the same features as its larger Xiro Xplorer brother but comes in a smaller form factor. Both GLONASS and GPS navigation is present here for both speed and accuracy of positioning during flights. The 13-megapixel camera in the nose of the drone offers 1080p Full HD video at 30 FPS shot through a 190-degree viewing angle. It is also FPV capable to a smartphone with the right app.
The features of this model include automatic return flights, low power forced landings, and a return process when the connection is lost. The 1,650mAh Li-Po battery delivers 15 minutes of flying time and a decent range. The flights aren’t completely steady though because, with the smaller size and reduced weight, the drone can get buffered by the wind a bit. That’s one of the trade-offs here.
10. Xiro Xplorer
The XiroXplorer offers many of the same features as the Mini version reviewed above. The size is larger and with that comes increased stability during flights which will be appealing to some buyers. The flight duration of 20 minutes and the effective range of up to 1,000 meters is a significant advancement over the Mini version. The Xplorer is available in a G model with the 3-axis gimbal, but no camera, while the G model includes the aforementioned 1080p HD camera. The camera is 13-megapixels with the same excellent video capabilities. Other features, including following me, circle me, and an automated return to base, round out the offering.
9. 3DR Solo
The 3DR Solo is an attractive drone made from durable materials. It doesn’t have prop guards, but it’s built of sturdy stuff. The 5,200m Ah battery offers 22 minutes of flying time and delivers 800 meters of range. The model has a cradle to fit a GoPro action cam but doesn’t have a camera of its own. It’s also possible to meddle with the cradle to get it to fit other action cams, but we don’t guarantee this will work. The controller is easy to use too. The Solo is a popular drone that has many fans.
8. Upair One
The Upair One is a DJI drone look-a-like, but that stops at the camera and controller which look different. There are two versions of the One: A 2.7K video camera model and a 4K UHD video camera model. There is a GPS for navigation, and a controller with a 7-inch LED display to see where you are clearly. The inclusion of such a large display is ideal for people wanting to ensure they get the perfect shot before leaving the location. The 18 to 20-minute flight time is not bad for this type of drone, and one shouldn’t really expect more. Both models will mostly appeal to people who want the best video and still images during a flight and who don’t wish to use their smartphone to navigate.
7. Yuneek Q500
The Yuneek Q500 is an unusual looking drone that sits high on its legs and has large propellers that pull it into the air. The 4K UHD video camera with full 360-degree movement is its standout feature. The controller has a small FPV display screen for an in-flight live video to identify where the drone is located. The 25 minutes of flying time is adequate, and the range of 1,000 meters is likely to be more than sufficient.
6. Traxxas Aton
The Traxxas Aton is either a racing drone or a pleasure flying model, depending on your perspective. It is indeed designed to look like a racing model from its initial appearance. It has a mean red and black look that is likely to scare other competitors in any race that it takes part in! There are two flying speed modes: Racing and Photography. The Racing one offers speeds of up to 50 MPH, and the Photography one focuses on slow speeds and steadier shots. The flying time of 20 minutes and range of 200 meters is reasonable considering this model is intended primarily as a racing one rather than a long-distance UAV. It will hold a GoPro in its clutches and take shots and video as needed too. The GoPro and a suitable gimbal are necessary to begin taking copious video and photos.
5. Hubsan H109SX4
The Hubsan H109SX4 is a yellow and black colored drone model that includes its own 1080p HD camera and a 1-axis gimbal ready to take great shots from the air. The controller that the Hubsan drone comes with is running an older Android 4.2 version, but it works well nonetheless. The model has GPS to help the controller app keep track of the current location of this UAV. An included gyro helps the drone keep steady and avoid getting confused about its orientation. The battery powers up to 30 minutes of flying time which is excellent. The effective range is an equally pleasing 1,000 meters. There is a constant altitude, return to base and headless flying mode for newbies. Lastly, the H109S is made from durable materials, so one can expect it to handle a good hard knock or two without becoming damaged.
4. DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Why buy a look-a-like when you can own the real thing? That’s certainly one of the arguments for buying the DJI Phantom 3 Professional. One of the main features of the DJI drones is their excellent range and capable flight duration. In this case, the Phantom 3 Pro doesn’t let the side down with its 2,000-meter range and 22-minute flying duration. The model includes a 12-megapixel camera that takes 4K UHD video at 30 FPS, has a Lightbridge linking option for live streaming, and both GPS and GLONASS for dual GPS navigation. The distinctive white body with gold stripes, LED lighting, and DJI mobile app for navigating the skies are also all there.
Buying the Phantom 3 Pro is an opportunity to own an updated version of this classic with modern features like 4K UHD video at an affordable price. There are also many more accessories available for any product from DJI than some other lesser is known drone brands.
3. Yuneec Typhoon H
The Yuneec Typhoon H is a drone with a top-end 4K CGO3+UHD camera, but it’s a hexacopter with six propellers instead of the usual four with a quadcopter. Whether this gives this model additional lift is up to debate, but the 23 minutes of flying time and 1,000-meter range are certainly not. The camera also offers an FPV live feed to view where the drone is at any given moment. The 3-axis gimbal sits on a motor that keeps it moving to ensure steady video and photos are taken. The drone avoids mid-air collisions by using sensing detection technology that scans the sky in all directions, continually. Whether wanting to fly a greater distance or taking steady-as-she-goes shots while flying at speed, the Typhoon H seems to be a perfect solution. It should also be noted that the matching of a 1,000-meter range with a 23-minute flight time is a solid combination for many buyers of this product.
2. DJI Phantom 4
The DJI Phantom 4 is a premium drone from one of the best brands in the business. The UAV comes with a 3-axis gimbal driven by a strong motor behind it that supports the 4K UHD video camera. The 4K camera takes superb video clips and still photographs out of the box. FPV video images are also transmitted from the camera to the controller. The controller helps navigate the drone with speeds of up to 45 MPH for a 25-minute flight time and out to 5,000 meters. The standard white coloring is clearly DJI, and there are pink and green LEDs under each motor that shine down during night flights. The legs are wrap down and around versions with a flat surface that contacts the ground, rather than actual legs per se. The product is available in various permutations including additional batteries, accessories and additional parts at prices from under $1,000 upwards.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with the DJI Phantom 4.
1. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
The Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is an orange-clad drone with black propellers and a camera mount, gimbal, and camera that’s black to offset the main orange style. The combination of colors is non-traditional and exciting. The model is quite similar in features to the DJI Phantom 4 above. It has a 4K UHD video camera that sits on a 3-axis mounted gimbal. The 4,900mAh battery capable drives the flying time of 25 minutes and a range of 2,000 meters. The camera also offers an FPV live feed and uses both GLONASS and GPS to confirm positioning coordinates. The other features include automatic take-offs and landings, effortless hovering, protection from magnetic interference during a flight, and return to base option.
For anyone wanting similar specifications to the DJI Phantom 4 but at a more reasonable price tag, the X-Star Premium is worth a good long look. Clearly, the range of accessories and other options won’t be anywhere near that of the far more established DJI brand, but you get what you pay for here.
When being able to afford up to $1,000 for a new drone, there is a world of choice out there. Dual GPS systems and 4K UHD cameras with 3-axis gimbals are not out of the question. Radar-like object avoidance technologies and other fancy new inventions are also beginning to appear in some top models too.