March 7

The 5 Best Drones Under $1000: High-End Camera Drones Reviewed

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Looking to find the best drone under $1000? Good news, we have done the research for you ! We will help you to find the best value for money drone in this price range so that you don't end up buying a sub-standard drone from low quality importers. Drones in the under $1,000 range are an excellent group of drones and are some of the most feature-rich, including some of the best cameras, great flying range, excellent battery systems and much more. This article reviews the best drones under $1,000 available in the market right now.

In a hurry? Our winner after 36hrs of research is...

Autel Robotics EVO


89/100
OUR RATING

Why it is better?

This amazing drone offers you 30 minutes of flight time with the ability to fly up to 7Km without losing transmission signal. It also comes with a ton of incredible features, including a 4K camera, GPS/ GLONASS support, Automatic return to home, Geofence height limitation, and can hit top speeds of 44mph.

This drone is just what you need if you ready to upgrade from flying the best drones under 200!


1. Autel Robotics EVO 
- Best Overall Pick - 

Autel Robotics EVO
89/100
OUR RATING
  • Camera: 4K camera 
  • Max Range: 7Km
  • Flight Time: 30 Minutes

Let’s face it…DJI might boast about having created the best folding camera drones in the market but it’s not without competition! The Autel Robotics EVO is a worthy rival drone capable of going toe-to-toe with any DJI drone in this price range. 

The drone features a sleek design, blending a bright orange and black outer body that will be easy to pick out as it rises into the bright sky. It has a high-grade camera with the ability to shoot 4K video at a whopping 60fps; something that you won’t find in the DJI Mavic drones.

The video quality is out of this world and would be a dream come true for any professional videographers out there. In essence, the Autel Robotics Evo was designed for true professionals looking to get the most of out their quadcopter with no expenses to spare! 

That’s why it is at the top of our list for the best drones under $1000!

Camera

The EVO have one of the best cameras in the industry. The 4K camera is powerful and offers high-quality videos with enough resolution to deliver crisp details and great color reproduction. There are also various frame rates available when recording.

The camera can shoot 4K videos at 60fps, 48fps, 30fps, as well as 24fps. You also have the choice to double down on the resolution and shoot 2.7K videos at any of the above frame rates, 1080p up to 120fps, and finally 720p up to 240fps. A 3-axis gimbal platform keeps the camera steady in windy environments. 

The camera is backed by a smartphone-sized 12MP image sensor, which may not be as impressive as the 1-inch sensor you find on the DJI Mavic Pro 2, nevertheless, the sensor is still good enough to offer wide dynamic range stills. 

Apart from the standard video profile, you can choose among a Film look, Black-and-White, Vivid and a variety of filtered looks such as Beach, Art, Classic and Nostalgic.  

When it comes to the FPV experience, you won’t need a smartphone for this. The remote controller comes with a built-in 3.3-inch full-color OLED screen that shows a range of telemetry data. Alternatively, a smartphone mount has been included to support your phone and even a tablet.

Although the EVO doesn’t come with internal memory, there is a micro SD card slot that can support up to 128GB of memory. The manufacturer offers a 32GB SD card as part of the package to cater to your storage needs.

Performance 

The Autel Robotics Evo is powered by an impressive battery that is manufactured to provide 30 minutes of flight time, although flying the drone in actual-world conditions will give you around 26 minutes to play with.

You can remotely control the drone up to a range of about 7Km before you start losing signal, which should suffice for most drone pilots. It also has an 800-m vertical flight range but the Geofence feature has been included to limit the maximum height so that you don’t get into trouble with the authorities. 

Generally, the EVO offers a fantastic flying experience! Its compact yet sturdy design gives this camera drone the aerial agility that ensures it can clock top speeds of up to 44mph. As expected, there is a range of safety features that have been included to protect the EVO from damage.

A dual GPS/GLONASS positioning system allows the drone to hover stably while the automatic Return to Home ensures that the drone comes back to you when the signal is lost or the battery is almost empty. Meanwhile, IR and ultrasonic obstacle detection sensors have been positioned at the nose and tail of the quad to avoid mid-air collisions. 

Brushless motors propel the drone in the air for a swift yet quiet performance. There are also dedicated controls for takeoff and landing that have been integrated to make steering the drone easier for first-time users. 

Drone pilots will also appreciate intelligent flight functions that have been incorporated into the quadcopter, including Orbit and Dynamic Tracking to maximize your experience. You also get a VR headset that serves to immerse you into the experience! 

Features

  • GPS/ GLONASS positioning system
  • Automatic return-to-home and 44mph max speed
  • Geofence height limitation, 4K camera
  • Orbit mode and active tracking
  • 3.3-inch display on the remote controller
  • Brushless motors, IR and ultrasonic sensors
  • One-button takeoff/landing

Pros

  • Compact and sturdy design
  • Long flight range and decent battery life
  • Stable in the air and easy controls
  • Obstacle detection system
  • High-quality camera
  • Customizable video recording
  • Foldable and portable, nice color design

Cons

  • No internal memory
  • Limited automatic flight modes compared to DJI drones

2. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom 
- Upgrade Pick - 

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
85/100
OUR RATING
  • Camera: 4K HD
  • Max Range: 8Km
  • Flight Time: 31 Minutes

If you have the means to breach the 1000-dollar limit and don't mind spending extra on your camera drone to obtain more features than what the EVO offers, you might have to turn to the superiority of the DJI drones. The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is our choice for the upgrade pick to offer what you are looking for!

The Zoom is an improvement of the already impressive DJI Mavic 2 Pro. While you get practically all the offerings on the Pro, the main differentiating feature is the 2x optical zoom lens on its camera, which is something you won’t find on a foldable drone. 

In essence, the zoom functionality becomes more suitable when you’re primarily using the drone to shoot videos. It offers you more creative flexibility than the Mavic Pro without sacrificing the video quality.

Nevertheless, don’t lose out on the numerous advanced features on this drone that make for an unforgettable flying experience, whether or not you’re into aerial videography! 

Camera

The Zoom is equipped with a 4K camera that features a 1 /2.3 CMOS sensor with a 24-48mm zoom range and an adjustable aperture. Although you won’t get the game-changing 20MP stills that the DJI Mavic Pro offers, the Zoom offers you striking 12MP photos in DNG and JPEG raw format.

The camera can shoot richly detailed and fantastically sharp 4K, 2.7K, as well as 1080p videos. When recording full HD videos, the 4× Lossless Zoom (together with the 2× optical zoom) provides you with a closer view of distant subjects, helping to make unique shots possible to capture from afar.

The hybrid auto-focus on the Zoom also mixes phase and contrast detection to deliver higher accuracy with a 40% increased focus speed. The subjects remain sharp and clear when zooming in and out. 

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom comes with a handy 8GB of in-built storage, but you still get a micro SD card slot that can support cards with up to 128GB in capacity. 

Performance 

If you’ve ever flown the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, then you shouldn’t be worried about controlling the Zoom in the air. It practically reciprocates all the features on the Pro, which is a good thing because this makes it possibly the best compact flyer among the DJI drones. 

You’ll get approximately 31 minutes of flight time from the Zoom. The drone can be controlled from a maximum distance of 8Km, which you’d probably won’t be able to test given the FAA’s flying regulations. The controller maintains a strong signal even beyond 500m where most drones tend to start losing their signal. 

The controller is also linked to the drone via OccuSync 2.0; a newly updated version of the manufacturer’s proprietary technology to provide a real-time video feed from the drone to your controller or smartphone’s screen. 

As expected, you’ll find fail-safe features like the Return Home, which instantly brings the quad back to you when the battery is running low or when the signal drops. Omnidirectional sensors across the length of the Zoom provide detection functions to avoid obstacles in the flight path and prevent potential collisions. 

This drone is very agile in the air and can manage some frighteningly high speeds of 45mph. The propellers have also been tweaked in such a way that enhances the speed while offering quiet operation, keeping it from being a nuisance to the public. 

GPS support helps to keep your flight stable in windy conditions, providing for the perfect situation to capture the perfect shot. Another useful feature on the Zoom is a pair of bright LED lights fitted at the bottom of the drone. This serves to increase the visibility of the drone, which means that you can fly the drone comfortably in low light conditions. 

There are additional functions that help to enhance your aerial photography experience. Features like Hyperlapse lets you create smooth motion time-lapse videos while using a variety of methods. 

You’ll also enjoy the Dolly-Zoom feature, which provides you with the original “Quickshots” introduced by the DJI Mavic Air. Modes like Asteroid and Helix also enhance video recording. Meanwhile, Hyperlight offers a low-light setting to improve your photos while limiting the noise.

Furthermore, there is a range of Panorama modes such as 180 degrees, Horizontal, Sphere, and Vertical that will impress any professional photographer using the Mavic Zoom. 

Features

  • Obstacle detection sensors, LED lights for night flying
  • OccySync 2.0, 4K, 2.7K recording
  • Hyperlapse and panoramas
  • Hyperlight and Dolly-Zoom
  • Active 2.0, intelligent battery
  • Gimbal and gimbal protector, enhanced HDR photos
  • 1 /2.3 CMOS image sensor
  • 8GB internal memory, micro SD card slot

Pros

  • Stable in the air, multiple safety features
  • High-quality camera
  • Large internal memory and additional space
  • Fast maximum speed
  • Various video recording options
  • Portable design and good flight time

Cons

  • High price

3. DJI Mavic Air 

- Budget Pick - 

DJI Mavic Air
83/100
OUR RATING
  • Camera: 4K and 1080p
  • Max Range: 4Km
  • Flight Time: 21 Minutes

The DJI Mavic Air is a high-performance drone that allows users to enjoy professional-quality features at a reasonable price. Unlike the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom above, it falls way under the 1000-dollar range. 

As you’d expect from a DJI drone, the Mavic Air is packed with a host of exciting specs that will not only improve aerial photography but also enhances the joy of flying a quadcopter. The camera is particularly refreshing; it allows for a panoramic perspective of the world around you while offering an array of intelligent flight modes. 

You get to enjoy features like 4K recording, gimbal stabilization system, and gesture control to make for a high-quality filming session. Despite the marginal price difference, the Mavic Air offers much more than you can get from the best drones​​ under $500.

Camera

The 4K HD camera on the Air shoots 12MP stills , similar to the more expensive Mavic 2 Zoom and records 4K videos at 30 fps. Alternatively, you can slow it down to 1080p at 120fps. The camera has also been fitted with a 1 /2.3 CMOS image sensor to improve the resolution of the footage.

The drone also features a 3-axis gimbal stabilization platform that keeps the camera steady in the face of vibrations and swaying winds, allowing you to take steadier shots and clear images. There are various smart camera modes that you will find useful when using this drone for your aerial photography.

Panorama modes enable you to get Vertical, Horizontal, as well as 180-degree images that the drone will put together for you. All you have to do is find the mode in question on the menu and select it so that the drone takes the relevant shots before providing the final product. 

Sphere Panorama is an extreme version of the feature that will put together 25 images, resulting in a 32MP image in only a minute. Additionally, you’ll find cool video modes like Asteroid and Boomerang that are pretty interesting when capturing footage.

The Mavic Air comes with 8GB of internal memory and features a micro SD card slot if you want to expand the storage space. This will be very useful for anyone who buys the drone mainly for high-grade filming as a 2-minute 4K video at 30 fps eats up 1.5GB of data. 

Performance 

The drone maintains a transmission signal to a maximum range of over 2 miles. It has two speed modes; it can fly in normal speed mode at 22mph, but when you fly it on Sport mode, the drone will clock an adrenaline-filled 42mph. You require mad skills to fly it on this mode without messing up!

According to the manufacturer, you’ll get 21 minutes of playtime from the Air but real-conditions dictate that you only squeeze around 18 minutes out of the quadcopter. Various fail-safe features have been integrated into the drone to make for safe flying. 

The Automatic Home Return feature protects the drone from crashes when it loses signal or when its almost running out of battery by bringing it back home and safely landing it. Meanwhile, obstacle avoidance sensors will stop the drone on a dime when it detects a potential hazard as far as 20m ahead. 

The drone is also quite stable in the air. This is thanks to a GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning system that allows for a stable hover while also enabling multiple GPS -enabled functions. A nice example is SmartCapture, which lets you manage the drone’s flight using basic hand gestures.

You also get a total of 6 QuickShot flight modes, which are used to preset flight routes and film videos while tracking the subject. Modes such as Boomerang and Asteroid can be accessed by simply touching on the mode and letting the Air do everything for you!

On the flip side, the Mavic Air is a little bit noisy in the air. This means it can be a public nuisance when you fly it at low altitudes. You’ll probably hear it coming before you even see it! 

Features

  • Gesture control and Active Track system  
  • 8GB of internal memory and Micro SD card slot
  • Obstacle avoidance sensors
  • 3-axis gimbal stabilization
  • Quickshot modes like Boomerang and Asteroid
  • SmartCapture and high flying speed
  • Cinematic, multiple speed modes
  • GPS/GLONASS positioning

Pros

  • Multiple safety features, fun flying session
  • Compact and portable size
  • High-quality video recording
  • Great value for money and amazing flight modes
  • Gesture control and quality construction

Cons

  • Slightly noisy
  • Limited internal memory

4. DJI Mavic Pro Fly Combo  

- Best Bundle -

 DJI Mavic Pro Fly Combo
80/100
OUR RATING
  • Camera: 4K HD
  • Max Range: 7Km
  • Flight Time: 27 minutes

If you want to get the most out of your 1000 dollars, then you have to find the best package in the market. With the DJI Mavic Pro Fly More combo, you won’t have to search far or wide. It is just what you need to get the best value for your money!

This bundle enables you to document all your adventures in superb detail. It was designed for enthusiasts on the go, thanks to a compact and foldable design that you can easily throw into your backpack before setting out on your trip.

The Mavic Pro comes with a superior camera with a CMOS sensor, as well as a gimbal stabilization system to ensure that you get the perfect shots. You'll also enjoy decent flight time and range, in addition to all kinds of spare components for your flying convenience. 

Camera

The Mavic Pro features a 4K camera that can shoot a 4K video at 30fps and record the footage at speeds of 100Mb/s. A 1 /2.3 CMOS sensor has been integrated to enable it to take 12MP photos while an f/2.8 lens enhances the overall quality of the footage you get.  

A 3-axis mechanical gimbal helps to stabilize the camera when faced with vibrations for steady shooting. New HDR algorithms have been used on this camera to help you get the perfect exposure setting intelligently depending on the lighting conditions.

You can also make the most of 32MP Sphere Panoramas, aside from the Horizontal, Vertical, and 180-degree Panoramas. The drone camera can also capture slow-motion video at 1080p at 120fps, allowing you to record the most high-speed events.

Finally, a micro SD card slot has been included to supplement the 8GB of internal memory to provide sufficient storage space for your videos and pics.  

Performance 

The DJI Mavic Pro will provide you with 27 minutes of playtime. It can reach a maximum control range of 7Km at speeds as high as 40mph. This will make for the perfect flying experience for any adrenaline junkie. 

To ensure that your investment is protected at all times, the Air employs several autonomous flight control modes that draw from various sophisticated technologies. GPS ensures that the drone maintains a stable hover to allow you to capture professional-grade footage.

Visual Inertial Odometry and Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems enable the Mavic Pro to detect objects in its flight path and avoid hazardous collisions. The DJI Go app also allows you to access useful settings when shooting videos such as ActiveTrack and QuickShots. 

You also get to enjoy live video streaming at 720p resolution from a great distance with zero to no latency. The controller is quite ergonomic and features simple tap-based controls that make flying the drone easier for inexperienced flyers. 

Aside from the DJI Mavic Pro quadcopter that is delivered when you purchase this Mavic Pro Fly Combo, you still get a variety of parts to complete a fantastic bundle. You will get a remote controller, five 8830 folding propellers and 3 intelligent flight batteries for non-stop playtime.

There’s also a gimbal clamp, 16GB micro SD card, a micro-USB cable, charging hub, RC cable with micro-USB cable, memory card reader, Mavic shoulder bag, etc.to make for the most amazing deal you can get for a drone under 1000.

Features

  • OccuSync live video transmission
  • 16GB micro SD card, obstacle avoidance
  • QuickShots and active track
  • 40mph maximum flying speed
  • GPS support, panoramas and 4K camera

Pros

  • Long-distance FPV viewing
  • High-quality, fail-safe features
  • Great bang for the buck and fast WiFi connection
  • Numerous spare components
  • Long control range and good flight time
  • Stable hover for clear and still footage

Cons

  • Possible missing part in the bundle
  • Poor packaging

5. Parrot Anafi Drone 

- Extra Budget Pick -

Parrot Anafi Drone
79/100
OUR RATING
  • Camera: 4K HD
  • Max Range: 4km
  • Flight Time: 25 Minutes

Looking to push your budget even lower, it doesn’t get cheaper than the Parrot Anafi drone. The good thing is that you won’t be sacrificing too much of the performance because this amazing quality drone can easily compete with drones at a higher price range.

The Anafi is Parrot’s first folding drone. Unlike its predecessors, which were geared towards kids and the entry-level market, Parrot raised the stakes with the Anafi by designing it with a variety of high-quality features that will impress any avid drone user, especially when you consider its price tag. 

It has the profile to rival DJI’s Mavic Air and offers specs such as a 4K camera and the ability to shoot amazing 21MP stills (better than the Mavic Pro). Its slim and lightweight frame ensures that it will fit inside your backpack effortlessly, making for a portable drone that you can conveniently bring along on your travels. 

The only function that is absent compared to the DJI drones, is the lack of obstacle avoidance. If this function it not so critical then this is a great pick for experienced pilots looking for a new challenge. 

Camera

The Parrot Anafi is fitted with a high-quality camera that can shoot 4K videos but also allows you to slow things down to 1080p. It boasts unique features that you probably won’t find in any other consumer drone. For instance, the camera gimbal can tilt through 180 degrees, meaning it can shoot straight down, as well as straight-up, making for one-of-a-kind recording angles.

The Anafi also manages to keep rotors out of the shot, which is an achievement that not even the all superior DJI drones can achieve. These can only fly with the camera facing straight ahead.

The drones camera also features a lossless zoom lens that is only found in a few consumer drones like DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. This feature allows you to bring very distant subjects Into focus without compromising the clarity. The drone also uses a variety of automated camera modes like Dronie, Reveal, Orbit, Parabola, etc. that allows you to record some amazing footage.

The Dolly Zoom feature unable you take interesting snaps. It is a shot that involves the subject maintaining the same size in the frame while the background seems like it's coming closer or farther away. This should impress any experienced photographer!

On the downside, the Anafi does not offer any internal memory, so this means forgetting to carry an SD card may rob you of the opportunity to store important files. There’s however a micro SD card slot and you get 16GB memory card for your storage. 

Generally, the quality of the camera cannot compete with the DJI Mavic line, but it is something you can work with at this price. 

Performance 

The Parrot Anafi provides you with 25 minutes of flight time, which should excite any avid camera drone enthusiast. This is also 4 more minutes than you get from the costlier DJI Mavic Air. Another useful spec is that the battery, as well as the remote controller, can be charged via USB-C means; you can easily recharge them inside your car or using an external battery pack. 

According to the manufacturer, the Anafi can go further than 2 miles without losing signal, putting it in the same class as the DJI Mavic Air and certifying it as a worthy rival to the Air. 

Another thing you’ll like about this drone is that the noise level is quite low. The rotor fan noise has been eliminated and it sounds more like a swarm of insects. So, don’t expect any complaints from your neighbors when you fly the Anafi in your backyard. 

The drone can also reach 33mph at full power, which is a good top speed for a non-racing drone. It is also pretty agile, enough to spin around at tight angles; any experienced pilot should enjoy the flight it offers.

On the downside, the Anafi does not come with an obstacle avoidance system. It is as blind as bat in the air, so amateurs might have a hard time controlling the drone and possibly be prone to crashing it into aerial obstacles. 

Luckily, the bottom ground-detecting sensors will cover you when you want to execute safe landings. Another shortcoming on the Anafi is that the drone doesn’t have a stable hover. It tends to drift in different directions for no particular reason. Not to mention that there is a slight lag between moving the controls on the transmitter and the drone actually executing the command. But you’ll get used to it after a few minutes of flying the drone; no biggie here!

The camera drone uses a foldable Parrot Skycontroller 3 that can activate your smartphone’s vibrator to tell you where the drone is. Other smart features include Find My Drone, Geofence, as well as Smart Return to Home. 

All things considered, the Parrot Anafi will give you a deserved break from the DJI drones. Although many consider it to be a worthy adversary of the DJI Mavic Air, it still has some catching up to do as far as aerial performance is concerned. It’s a good thing it is offered at a lower price!

Features

  • 180-degree rotating camera
  • 25 minutes of flying, Parrot Skycontroller 3
  • Supports USB-C battery charging
  • Stealthy flight and Find My Drone
  • 16GB micro SD card, Geofence
  • Ground-detecting sensors
  • 33mph max speed, Free Flight 6 app
  • 3-axis hybrid image stabilization and nice casing

Pros

  • High- quality camera resolution
  • Long flight time and control range
  • Easy to charge the battery on the go
  • Compact and foldable design
  • Ergonomic casing for travelers
  • Safe landings and quiet sound profile when flying
  • 3-axis gimbal stabilization
  • Camera can shoot straight down and straight up
  • Lowest price offering on our list
  • Fail-safe features like RTH and easy to operate

Cons

  • Unstable hover
  • Lag between controller and drone movement
  • No obstacle avoidance sensors

FAQ

What is the best drone for under $500?

If you want the most out of the 500 bucks you about to spend on a drone, then you must establish the bare minimum you expecting from the drone. You must therefore be aware of the average features and specifications that the product offer at this price range. 

Some of the main features to prioritize are battery life, maximum control range, camera quality and extra specs. For the flight time, a decent drone in the under 500 price range should provide you with around 15-30 minutes of playtime when you take it out for a flight. 

An average control distance of between 500 and 1000m is another aspect that you should prioritize. The longer the range, the better! You shouldn’t be surprised to find some models that go beyond the stated average control range. 

Meanwhile, you can expect $500 to earn you a drone with a more than a decent camera. As such, find a drone capable of 2.7K or even 4K video recording. Even though the camera quality might not be good enough to record professional-level footage, you should be satisfied enough to use the footage for your YouTube blogs or even semi-professional projects.

Finally, there’s a range of added features that a drone at this price range should comfortably provide, especially with the recent technological advancements in drone making. Things such as GPS assisted flight, Return Home, Altitude Hold, Follow Me, autonomous flight, etc. should be a no-brainer for any drone enthusiast. 

Having said that some of the best drones under $500 to consider include: 

What is the best flying drone?

There are numerous brands and models of drones in the market today. The competition is so stiff that manufacturers are doing the best to stuff the most desirable features in their product offerings. In essence, it’s not possible to provide an outright answer to this question.

However, depending on a number of factors, these are the best flying drones:

What is the best drone to buy UK?

The following drone models have proven to be the most popular in the UK drone market: 

What is the best drone for beginners?

Amateur drone enthusiasts who are still learning the ropes of drone flying need a low-priced drone with basic controls. This helps you to learn the fundamentals in preparation for more advanced machines. The best drones with cameras for beginners currently in the market include:


After it’s all said and done, we recommend...

Autel Robotics EVO


89/100
OUR RATING

It has proven to be a legitimate threat to DJI’s monopoly in the consumer drone market, thanks to features such as:

  • 30-minute flight time, automatic return to home
  • 7KM max range and active tracking
  • GPS/ GLONASS positioning system
  • Geofence height limitation, 4K camera and Orbit mode
  • 3.3-inch display on the remote controller
  • Brushless motors, 44mph max speed
  • IR and ultrasonic sensors, one-button takeoff/landing

Conclusion

1000 bucks is too much money to waste on a mediocre camera drone! Make sure that this isn't the case by selecting one of our picks above for the best drones under $1000. However, if you want to upgrade from the consumer level drone to a commercial level drone, we have compiled a great list of the best commercial drones for you!


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