Thinking of buying your first drone? Well, there’s a lot to consider when buying a drone , from the camera to flight time, price and other extra features you might need. For a beginner, it’s not so easy to decide. We are here to make sure your dream of becoming a drone pilot doesn’t come crashing down along with your drone. Below we have reviewed some of the best drones under 500 dollars for beginners.
In a hurry? Our winner after 30hrs of research is...
Why it is better?
It is a remarkable entry-level drone that offers a variety of progressive features. You get 13 minutes of flight time from this portable drone, as well as advanced flight functions like Throw and Go, One-key Takeoff/Landing, Vision Positioning System and 8D aerial flips.
When you consider just how affordable this quadcopter is; you’ll acknowledge that it’s one of the best kids drone in the market!
Top 3 Best Drones for Beginners
Camera Resolution: 720p HD Camera
Flight Time: 13 Minutes
Max Range: 100m
DJI Mavic Mini
Camera Resolution: 2.7K HD Camera
Flight Time: 30 Minutes
Max Range: 4Km
Altair Aerial AA300
Camera Resolution: 1080p HD
Flight Time: 12 Minutes
Max Range: 150 meters
1. DJI Tello
The DJI Tello is a high-performance piece of machinery. Any new drone user will have a ball flying it! DJI, the industry leader in the manufacture of consumer quadcopters, partnered with Ryze Tech and Intel to produce arguably the most impressive drone under 100 dollars.
Even though the manufacturers had kids in mind when they were designing the Tello, its performance has been so remarkable that any beginner drone pilot will have a great time flying it. Many of the high-quality DJI technology has been incorporated into the Tello, so if you have flown a DJI drone before, you know what to expect !
The features on the drone are nothing short of impressive. You get 13 minutes of flight time, which is slightly more than the industry average for a beginner drone. The camera can shoot decent stills and videos and you can use a VR headset to take your experience to the next level.
Don’t expect to find a controller when the Tello is delivered to you, instead you’ll have to use your smartphone to pilot the drone. The drone is super lightweight yet still durable, with hardware and software protections that give you all the confidence you need to fly this amazing drone!
The camera quality of the DJI Tello won’t win you any aerial photography awards, but it is good enough to work for a rookie drone enthusiast. When you consider how cheaply you can get it, there isn’t much to complain about it.
The drone is equipped with a high definition camera that can shoot 5MP photos and record videos at 720p at 30 frames per second. The camera also features a wide-angle 82.6 degrees field of view to capture more details in your shots.
An Electronic Image Stabilizer (EIS) feature has been included to eliminate any blurred images and “jello effect” when you are recording with the Tello camera. The advanced 14-core Intel processor inside the drone also enhances the overall quality of your footage.
You also get a range of amazing features you can use to take interesting photos, including EZ Shots which records coordinated short videos using modes like 360, Circle, Up & Away, etc. to preserve intimate memories of you and your family or friends.
The best part is that you can experience all this from a VR headset, ensuring that you are fully enjoying the FPV experience!
The DJI Tello offers you 13 minutes of playtime, which should suffice for an amateur pilot learning the ropes of drone flying. It can also reach a maximum control range of 100m and rise a height of 10m.
There are various safety features that make it practical for a learner to fly this drone. For example, a pressure sensor Altitude Hold, as well as a one of a kind Vision Positioning System on the Tello makes for a precise and stable hover, making it easy for you to take amazing photos and videos.
Beginners will have a much easier time launching the drone into the air using the One-key Takeoff/Landing function. The Throw & go feature allows you to toss the drone and it will automatically start flying. Meanwhile, Bounce Mode will prompt the drone to move up and down repeatedly on your palm.
Another interesting feature on the Tello is the fail-safe protection which alerts you whenever the battery is almost running empty and lands the drone safely in case the transmission signal to your smartphone is lost.
The compact size of the drone as well as its light weight make it pretty agile in the air. It can pull off mid-air stunts like 8D flips to provide you and your friends with an electrifying aerial showcase.
2. DJI Mavic Mini
- Budget Pick -
Unlike the Tello drone above, DJI decided to go solo when designing the Mavic Mini. The end product is a small drone that can practically fit on your palm but stashed with advanced features that will impress even experienced users. DJI made up for their oversights on the more expensive Spark to create a remarkable quadcopter in an entry-level price range.
The flight time is particularly impressive and unheard of in the entry-level drone market. The unlimited range will blow your mind, and the camera quality is solid enough to document the world around you with unrivalled resolution.
You still get a wealth of additional advanced specs that will not only excite beginners but also move experienced enthusiasts. Overall, DJI went above and beyond to offer users a wonderful quadcopter that perfectly balances quality and cost.
The DJI Mavic Mini comes with a high-quality camera. It won’t shoot 4K videos but you’ll be satisfied with the 2.7K footage you can take at 30fps or a slower 1080p at 60fps. It can also capture 12MP stills, which will be great for your Instagram selfies.
The camera also features a 1 /2.3 sensor, which is the same size as the image sensor on your smartphone. This helps to enhance the final resolution of your recordings. You won’t have to worry about shaky videos when shooting with the Mini; a 3-axis gimbal stabilization system has conveniently been included to make for stable performance in windy conditions.
This way you’ll comfortably take clear, sharp stills with the quality that a professional photographer offers. There is also a micro SD card slot to accommodate the 32GB SD card that has been included in the package to store your files.
There’s enough to go around on the Mavic Mini as far as advanced features are concerned. The drone comes with an unprecedented 30 minutes of flight time, which is something you ideally expect from drones under 1000. The 4Km control range is also among the best you can get in this price range.
The compact size of the Mini allows it to be very agile in the air. It uses GPS support to provide learners with a stable hover, allowing them to fly it with ease both outdoors and indoors. Downward vision sensors also allow for safe landings.
You can fly this drone at different speed modes, which makes it suitable for different levels of flying experience. Just go to the DJI Fly App and choose between, Sport, Position, and CineSmooth to find a mode that best suits your skills level.
Quickshots, which were originally introduced on the costlier Mavic Air, have also been incorporated into the Mini. These are pre-set flight routes that allow you to shoot videos in an awe-inspiring way.
The starter drone also comes with propeller guards to make for a safer flight and its small controller fits comfortably in your hand. A phone mount on the controller enables you to attach your smartphone when you want to enjoy the live video stream.
Regrettably, the DJI Mavic Mini does not feature obstacle avoidance like some of its siblings. This means you’d be wise to stick to the slowest speed mode if your flying skills are still questionable. Fortunately, there are a couple of ground detecting sensors at the base to assure you of a safe landing.
The Altair Aerial AA300 is another impressive affordable drone that you can consider. It is almost half the price of the Mini but it does not compromise on the level of performance you get.
This drone would be an excellent option for learners to improve their flying skills. Thanks to a range of advanced features such as GPS/GLONASS, you will have an effortless training session with the AA300.
It is stable in the air and comes with user-friendly controls. The Altair AA300 won’t let you down. If you’re looking for the best drone for kids or a drone for the inexperienced drone enthusiasts, this is an option that you should definitely consider.
This drone has a decent camera that will record 1080p resolution videos. The footage is clear and impressive, you can credit this to the GPS support that has been integrated into the drone. It makes for a stable hover position to enable you to film with no hassle.
The camera can also connect to your smartphone via a strong 5G Wi-Fi signal and let you share live footage of the drone on your phone. There’s also a micro SD card slot on the drone, although the package doesn’t come with an SD card. You can, however, buy a 32GB memory card to use for your storage needs.
The footage from the AA300 is not the best in the market. However, it should be enough to satisfy any beginner drone user. If you have no background in photography, you might not even realize this. Furthermore, the price tag of the drone makes the camera quality acceptable.
There are so many advanced features on the AA300 that you wouldn’t expect from a drone this cheap. The drone is GPS/GLONASS compatible and this provides amateurs flyers with a stable hover for an easy flying experience while also allowing for convenient recording conditions.
The starter drone offers you a battery life of 12 minutes, which is quite decent. The drone is powered by brushless motors that not only deliver great and quiet performance but also require less maintenance down the line.
The drone uses a LiPo battery that will need about 2 to 3 hours of charging to regain capacity. However, you can replace the battery with a spare one to continue enjoying flying the drone as it charges.
The AA300 features a maximum control range of 150m, which would be quite limiting for a experienced drone user. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for rookies flying a drone for the first time. It is also equipped with various features that simplify controlling it in the air.
A One-key Takeoff/Landing function enables you to get the quadcopter in the air with a single touch. The drone can also be flown at different speeds and it is nimble enough to perform exciting mid-air 3d flips. It is just what you need to entertain your friends!
Furthermore, the drone uses amazing flight functions to keep you entertained throughout the session. You will enjoy the Follow Me mode, Altitude Hold, as well and Point of Interest, which ensures that the drone focuses on a selected target while filming.
The transmitter is light and small, allowing small kids to use it without getting fatigued. AA300’s balance of usability and affordability makes it one of the best drones for beginners and children.
- Amazon Bestseller -
The Holy Stone HS120D is one of the best cheap drones you can buy! No wonder it is the best-selling , entry-level drone on Amazon. Despite its low-price, the HS120D comes with a good share of impressive features that you’d easily find on more expensive models.
The drone offers you amazing battery life that ensures you have enough time to enjoy its various feature offerings. Its easy-to-use flight functions allow beginner drone pilots a comfortable time in the field.
This quadcopter also features a compact and lightweight design, as well as a range of GPS supported features. Overall, the HS 120D is one of the best deals you can get in its price range.
The HS120D carries a camera that can shoot 12MP stills and record high-quality 1080p videos. This allows for an interesting aerial view of the world around you. The camera features a 120-degree field of view to maximize the level of details you can capture in your shots.
However, the drone doesn’t have a gimbal stabilization system, which means you should pick a calm day to do your recording for more stable footage. You will enjoy the FPV feature on the HS120D that allows you to stream live footage from the drone to your smartphone at 720p.
When it comes to storing your files, a micro SD card slot has conveniently been included to make sure you have enough space. The package includes an 8GB memory card, even though you can maximize the storage capacity by separately buying a 32GB memory card.
You won’t be able to use your footage from the HS120D professionally, but it would good for home videos you record with friends and family.
The HS120D boasts 18 minutes of playtime. This is among the best times you can get in this price range and more than enough for a beginner to enjoy the experience. The control range of 300m is also something that will not bore you easily.
GPS capabilities of the drone help to shorten the learning curve for those who are flying this quadcopter for the first time. There is an array of GPS-assisted functions that make for a safe and fun flying session.
The Automatic Return to Home feature will bring the drone back to you whenever the battery is running low and when you lose transmission signal on your controller. Headless mode also makes it easy for beginners as it allows for smooth control of the drone regardless in which direction the tail or head is facing.
Follow Me mode, which can only be accessed on the DJI Fly App, ensures that the drone will follow you anywhere you go. This will come in handy when you want to take magical selfies or shoot aerial photography during your home parties.
Additionally, the Tap & Fly mode allows you to draw a predetermined path for the drone on your screen and flies the aircraft in whichever direction you tap on the screen. However, there have been complaints that this feature is not effective, especially when your GPS signal is weak.
- Great Value for Money -
Any long-term drone user with aspirations of becoming a professional aerial photography guru should definitely try out the Snaptain SP510. This foldable drone is suitable to improve your aerial photography skills as well as to sharpen your drone flying skills.
The drone’s compact and foldable size allows you to easily pack and carry it around whenever you want to set out on a journey. Its sturdy aluminium construction ensures that it will emerge from slight bumps and crashes in one piece.
The manufacturers included LED lights on its body to allow you to comfortably fly the drone at night. A slew of high-performance features delivers a finely-made drone that will thrill both beginner and intermediate drone pilots.
The SP510 is fitted with a front-facing camera that will shoot 2.7K HD videos. The camera lens can be adjusted 90 degrees to enable you to take your shots from different perspectives. It also offers a 110-degree field of view to ensure that you get as many detail as possible in your shots.
The GPS support on the drone lets you adjust the camera angle remotely on the controller. If you want to transmit live video footage to your phone, this drone will allow you to do this from a maximum range of 300m. However, you can only record the footage on the SD card.
The camera also enables you to capture crystal-clear videos thanks to a 6-axis gyroscope stabilizer that keeps it steady during its hover. Furthermore, the camera is Wi-Fi-enabled to let you connect to your phone via a Wi-Fi signal.
The SP510 will remain in the air for almost 16 minutes when the battery is fully charged. The modular battery powering this quadcopter will need around 3 hours of charging to get back to full capacity, so you might want to get extra batteries if you don’t want to wait until it has recharged.
You can fly the drone to a maximum distance of 500m without losing a transmission signal, which is a decent feature on an entry-level drone. You’ll also appreciate the various GPS-supported flight functions that simplify the experience for rookie pilots.
One of the most practical features for beginners on the SP510 is the One-key Takeoff/Landing. It allows you to get the drone flying in a snap while the Automatic Return Home function keeps the drone within the vicinity even when you accidentally fly it out of range.
The Follow Me mode lets the drone follow you everywhere you go. You can take amazing selfies as you go on your morning runs. Other smart features such as Headless Mode, Point of Interest, Intelligent Geofence, and Waypoint ensure that you get a satisfying performance from the Snaptain SP510.
- Super Budget Pick -
The Holy Stone HS110D allows you to squeeze your budget even tighter when you are looking for one of the best drones for beginners. It has a tiny build but packs interesting features that are above its peers in the market. If you’re looking for the cheapest option that won’t disappoint you, the HS110D could easily do that.
This drone comes with a decent flight time and the range is just enough to provide any beginner with a long enough practice session. But what will impress you the most is the availability of smart flight functions such as Trajectory flight and Gesture control.
Overall, you get a drone under $100 dollars that will easily compete with models in higher-priced categories.
The camera on the HS110D can capture pretty decent footage for an entry-level quad. It records 1080p videos, although you have to keep the drone steady to get quality photos.
A 120-degree camera lens has been included to make for a wide field of view and ensure that you get enhanced details in your shots. The best time to shoot would be when the drone is hovering in its Altitude Hold position since the drones camera has no gimbal stabilization system.
The Holy Stone HS110D features a durable ABS plastic construction that helps to keep it lightweight for agile aerial performance. The sturdy build allows it to survive occasional crashes and smashes that you’d expect from a trainee flyer.
The quadcopter offers you around 10 minutes of flight time and a maximum control range of 50m. It’s nothing to rave about, but it should be enough for an amateur pilot to work with. Different speed modes on the drone ensure that learners can choose a suitable speed level as they fine-tune their drone flying skills.
You only need the touch of a button to get the drone into the air, thanks to the one-key takeoff/landing feature. The drone will also impress you with its ability to perform mid-air stunts like 360- degrees flips and twists. This can make for a great aerial show for your friends.
Additional flight modes such as Headless mode allow beginners to fly the quadcopter without having to pay much attention to the direction the head is facing. Meanwhile, Altitude Hold keeps the drone hovering stable in one area so that you shoot the perfect photos.
You have access to more useful flight functions when you download the mobile control app. There are several exciting features such as gesture and voice control, gravity sensor, trajectory control, etc. that will go a long way to maximize that overall experience. Not to mention that there’s a low-battery alarm to alert you before the battery completely runs out.
How can I Avoid FAA Registration for My Drone?
According to the Federal Aircraft Administration (FAA), all drones weighing more than 250 grams have to be registered before you can take them out to fly. So, if you want to save yourself the trouble of registering with the FAA, ensure that the drone you are buying is below the 250-gram weight limit.
Luckily, the registration process is fairly simple and will take you a matter of minutes. Usually, you’ll be required to provide some personal details during the registration process. The FAA will take your drone model information, email and home address, as well as your debit card information before issuing you with a personal registration number.
The registration number can be written on a piece of paper and taped anywhere on the drone’s body so that it is visible as you fly your quadcopter.
What is the easiest drone to fly?
There are numerous entry-level drones available in the market today. The increasing interest in drones has led so many people to seek their first drone flying experience. This is something they can ideally get from starter drones that generally feature basic controls and simple features.
These drones also come with a low-price tag. The stiff competition among industry players to cash in on the growing entry-level market has seen so many low price drones flooding the market in recent years.
While it can be tough to find the most user-friendly model from a sea of offerings in the market, some models have proven to be popular among newcomers. Aside from offering the best value for money, they also provide amateurs with the softest landing for their maiden drone experience.
Some of the best drones include:
What is the best budget drone?
The demand for affordable consumer drones with cameras has grown drastically in the past few years. With so many options for you to choose from, it can be daunting to find one that offers you the best bang for the buck.
Although there isn’t much you can expect from a cheap drone, some models have notably surpassed our expectations with the kind of advanced features they pack. These specifications help to make for a comfortable flying experience for the rookie flyer while giving experienced users something to talk about.
If you’re looking to spend wisely on a drone that will give you an exciting performance, the following are some of the models you should prioritize:
After it’s all said and done, we recommend...
Buying a camera quad on a budget exposes you to the risk of ending up with low-quality products that can ruin your first drone flying experience. However, not all affordable quadcopters you come across will disappoint you; in fact, some will surpass your expectations with the performance they deliver.
The consumer drone models we reviewed above are good examples of what you can expect from a high-quality entry-level product. They make a great choice for anyone looking for the ideal starter drone.