The Top 3 Best Drones Under 500
Today, drones are very popular, and they continue to improve in their modifications as users are willing to pay for better options. With drones, you can take aerial photography, explore unreachable places, and even take to the air for surveillance.
If you have wanted to purchase a drone, but aren't sure of which style or type to buy, there are a lot of options in the market place today. Today, we will be going over the top drones under $500 that not only offer value, but quality and options.
If you are a beginner to flying drones and not sure where to start check out our Ultimate guide !
Best Drones Under 500 Comparison Table
Last update on 2018-01-22 at 17:05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD
The best drone under 500 category!
This drone is best suited for those familiar with using smart-phones and joystick controls. It could be adapted by any age group that doesn't have problems using these control methods. It also may not be for those who want to spend longer amounts of time as it can have limited battery life as we will see below. This may be the best drone under 500 dollars for beginners and then move on to a more advanced drone.
If you are looking for one of the best drones with a camera check out this review!
The design of DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD still keeps the design that is similar with it previous versions and models. It is generally white, and has four pylons and each pylon has a rotor.
Moreover, it has a camera that is mounted at the bottom, and the landing struts as what can normally be found in most drones today. Its length from one side of the wing to another opposite side is 23 inches. It is light being under 3 pounds.
It has LED lights that are attached at the bottom of the wing, so it can easily be seen in the dark or at high altitude in broad day light. It rotors and motors are color-coded, so they can be easily installed.
The remote control has an integrated clip, which you can use to put your smart phone or tablet in order to view the footage being taken while in the air. In this way, you are also able to see where the drone is heading. Therefore, your mobile device may serve as your flight monitor.
You won't find it hard to clip a mobile device with different sizes even a full-size iPad. It only requires a cable that will connect your phone to the remote control using a standard USB-A cable.
The remote control also has dual joy sticks to control while determining the direction of the drone. The emergency return-to-home button and the power button are placed in front, so you can quickly push such buttons at any occasion.
Lastly on the remote control, there are control dials you use to manipulate the camera while the drone is in the air. There are also buttons you can push to record a video or take a photo. There is a playback button you can click to see what you have missed or noticed. This remote control uses a rechargeable battery. All of these features make the DJI Phantom 3 the best drone under 500 dollars.
The DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD can fly for about 23 minutes. This isn't that long, so you have to make sure the remote control, and the drone are fully charged before each use. Nevertheless, the drone will automatically produce a warning sound when the power reaches 10 percent.
If not you are not able to notice this alarm, the drone will automatically land when power reaches a critical level. However, it takes 1 hour to recharge the battery, so it's better to have a backup battery to avoid any inconveniences.
Flying the Drone
There are two options you can choose to control the flight. One is manual control using the joysticks, and the other one is touch control using your smart phone and the flight app. If you choose the use of your smart phone, you can fly the drone by just tapping the buttons on your screen. You can choose to switch to joysticks anytime.
It is easy to fly DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD using both ways. When you push the left joystick, you are increasing the drone's altitude, so you are decreasing it when you push it to the opposite direction. The left and right direction will rotate the drone. It is the right stick that moves it forward, backward, or toward either left and right side.
- Automated Flight Modes
- Emergency Return-to-Home Option
- 4K Video
- Live Feed
- Easy to Fly
- Short Battery Life
Take a look at a quick overview of the Phantom 3 Standard below
Traxxas Aton Plus
One of the Best Drones Under 500 dollars
The Traxxas Aton Plus is another one of the best drones under 500 that is easy to use for pilots of all skill levels. This drone comes with three different flight modes (Film mode, sport mode and expert) to suit diverse skill levels and flight use cases. This drone is an excellent choice for those with little or no flight experience.
This drone does not come with a camera but you can mount one to the unit with the attached 2-Axis Gimbal. The included mount is designed for use with GoPro Hero 3 and GoPro Hero 4 series. We recommend the Spy Tec GIT2 action camera as a cheaper camera alternative.
Traxxas is known for making high-performance, durable drones and this one is no exception. This drone is built with a tough composite frame, that is red, black and white. It has a very clean, sleek look. The Aton plus is equipped with a 2-axis gimbal, which will help with smooth camera shots and the camera mount is designed for use with GoPro and other action cameras. The drone comes with landing legs and a spare rotor blade set. The drone stands about 8.57 inches with the landing gear attached and about 3.70 inches without it. The Aton also has a sensorless brushless motor. A brushless motor is sealed which reduces the amount of contaminants that the enter the motor and generally has only one component that suffers wear, which is the bearings.
With the included 5,000 mAh battery, the Aton Plus will give you about 25-28 minutes of flight time. If the battery gets too low, the drone will automatically return home. If you want to extend your flight time you can purchase a spare Traxxas 5,000 mAh battery. The battery will recharge in one hour or less. The long battery and relatively quick charge time makes this one of the best drones under 500.
Flying the Drone
This drone doesn’t require any complicated setup or calibration, although. This makes it perfect for the drone pilot with little or no flight experience. The controls are well laid out and easy to understand and makes it extremely easy fun and easy to fly.
To start flying the drone, turn on the transmitter and plug in a charged battery. The Aton will then start searching for GPS signals. When the four green LEDs all light up, you are ready for launch.
This drone has three different modes that will allow an inexperienced pilot to grow into this drone. These three different flight modes help make this drone one of the best drones under 500 dollars. Let’s take a look at the three different flight modes.
This mode allows you to focus on capturing stunning photos and video, with no previous flight experience required. Use the return to home feature when you are finished with your aerial photography or videography and your drone will land at its take off point effortlessly. Film mode is also best for beginners looking to learn to improve their pilot skills.
This is a fun mode for pilots who are already experienced or who are ready to bring their skills up a notch. This mode allows for more speed, which can be helpful for following a fast moving target. You can also press a button to do rolls or flips.
This mode unlocks the drone’s full performance and allows for exhilarating aerobatic feats. The drone can reach top speeds of up to 50 mph. If you happen to lose control of the drone, just use the air brakes feature to have the drone stop and hover in place. This mode is for the most experienced hard-core pilots.
- 3 Mode for varying levels of flight experience
- Film mode is easy to fly and control for beginners
- Longer flight time of 25-28 Minutes
- High Visibility LED lighting
- Stable Flight
- Easy to Control
- Long Recharge Time
- No Built-In Camera
Parrot BEBOP 2
Another one of the best drones under 500 dollars
When it comes to camera capability the Parrot Bebop 2 Drone is ideal for just about everyone. In fact, this drone is usually referred to as camera drone. It is an update of its previous version, and this updated version has doubled its flying time. In addition, Parrot Bebop 2 Drone can fly autonomously. Basically, it offers attractive video and long battery life, and these are the significant features of Parrot Bebop 2 Drone.
However, its touch screen control is not that sensitive, so it is not as responsive as it should be. This drone is revamped since the original Parrot Bebop and is recommended to all drone enthusiasts as its sleek design, battery life and control systems make it one of the best drones under 500.
Bebop 2 looks almost exactly the same as the original Bebop version. They are both similar in shape, plastic frames, and front lens. The only difference is that the Parrot version is tougher and more durable while keeping the drone lightweight. The only thing that makes adds to its weight is the battery, which is a 2700mAh Li-Polymer battery that weighs 6.8 ounces. Parrot's battery is heavier than that of the previous version, but this new battery is more powerful and has a flight time of around 25 minutes.
Parrot Bebop 2 has a fish-eye lens that is placed in front with 170 degree views. This lens is like an eagle's eyes that can see everything downward and forward. It can also view both sides such as left or right. Although it cannot record all that it views, the video feeds are very clear and stable. It is actually its software that makes the video stable. Most drones tend to shake while its engine is running. This makes a camera unstable. With Parrot, its fish-eye lens is designed to endure a shock.
Some drones can only be controlled well using smart phones. For Parrot Bebop 2, you have two options. You can either use your smart phone or the Sky Controller Black. If you want to use your smart phone, you will have to install FlightAware 3 app, which is compatible for both Android and iOS.
Flying the Drone
Flying Parrot Bebop 2 is convenient because it can be done through touch screens. It has user-friendly buttons that can easily be understood. The only problem with it is sensibility. There are times that the screen quickly reacts while the actually drone has delayed response.
- High-Quality Video
- User-Friendly Controls
- Longer battery Life
- Replaceable Parts
- Lens is vulnerable to flares
- Touch screen has response issues at times
Here is a look at the official launch video of the Parrot BEBOP 2
Top 3 Best Drones Under 500 - Wrap up
Nowadays drones are no longer treated as toys or just drones for kids. They are now packed with so many features that provide benefits not only for enthusiasts but also for professionals.
They can be used in many ways aside from sports and entertainment. Some are still pricey, but you can still find some affordable ones. If you are looking for the best drone for under 500, the above list will guide you in your decision. If you are looking for something a little lower in price check our best drones under 300 guide.
Ready to step up to the next level? Check out these awesome beasts!