Looking to find the best drone under $1000?
The truth is that even when spending big money, you could still end up with a crappy drone, especially if you buy one from one of the fly-by-night low-quality importers.
The good news for you is that we spent 2 days testing quadcopters, reading user reviews, and coming up with a top ten list that will ensure you find a gem in the rough!
Today we are analyzing and comparing the 10 Best Drones Under $1000 currently available to purchase online. These are some of the most powerful, feature-rich, and overall top-quality drones you can possibly buy.
This is where technology and design truly come together. If you wish to get amazingly beautiful aerial shots and run the sky with autonomous flight features, this is the Top 10 list for you.
What should I expect from a drone under $1000?
Ready for liftoff? Let us get to it then, here’s our full take on the Top 10 Drones Under $1000:
1. DJI Mavic Air 2S – The Best Drone Under $1000
Introducing the ultimate all-in-one camera drone, the perfect mix of top quality and reasonable price point – DJI Air 2S.
The original DJI Mavic Air entered the market more than two years ago. It made quite a bang, considering that it offered camera quality that surpassed that of the Mavic Pro – and at a much more affordable price tag, too.
After the huge success of the Mavic Air 2, the world was presented with the Air 2S – an incredible model that offers tons of high-end features and upgrades while retaining a mid-range price tag:
You get improved camera performance, highly advanced controls, and a set of features that are typically only found in the more sophisticated drones – all that for less than a grand.
Compared to the Mavic Air 2, the DJI AIR 2S boasts better performance, improvements in obstacle sensing, and an upgraded transmission system. The biggest upgrades include the 1-inch CMOS sensor, APAS 4.0, four-antenna low-latency transmission, and MasterShots.
You’d be insane to miss out on a deal like this, because, at this price point, you won’t find a better drone. Considering what’s “under the hood,” the Air 2S is easily the most thrilling drone release of 2022!
It’s hard to ignore the increase in take-off weight; compared to its predecessor, the Air 2S is more substantial, clocking in at 570 grams. With an Air 2S in one hand and the Mini in the other, the latter almost feels like a toy.
And sure, it packed on a few extra ounces, but this didn’t slow the Air 2S down in any way. You’re still looking at up to 42.5 miles per hour in wind-free conditions – and with a 12-kilometer control range, too.
Even more so, thanks to the improved battery and redesigned electronic components, its advertised flight time is up to 31 minutes!
Don’t forget to register your drone with the FAA before that initial take-off, though.
If you’re into aerial photography, you’re going to love the fact that the Air 2S now has a 1-inch CMOS sensor, with the ability to record 5.4K/30fps videos and capture 20MP photos.
The new 1-inch CMOS sensor carries significant advantages over the ½-inch CMOS – it features 2.4μm-sized pixels, and exceptional dynamic range and exposure sensitivity. This allows it to capture up to 12.6 stops in raw and shoot at 5.4K resolution.
And if that’s not impressive enough, it also packs the new MasterShots feature, thanks to which Air 2S automatically selects templates and executes a cinematic sequence of shots.
The DJI Air 2S is an improvement over the original in pretty much every way imaginable.
2. DJI Mavic Mini 2 – The Best Budget Pick
It is one of DJI’s most recent releases. An awesome upgrade to the Drone that aimed to be the perfect portable quad for travelers, vloggers, holidays, or just a casual day at the park.
Indeed DJI Mavic Mini 2 lives up to its name and is one of the best drones for beginners who prioritize ease of use, camera quality and a complete bundle for a very low price.
As expected from a drone aimed at beginners, it is of course extremely easy to control and maneuver. It has a very steady hover, even without the pilot’s input.
However, take into consideration that due to the Drone’s small size it’s not a good idea to fly it in medium to strong wind conditions. It can handle wind conditions up to level 5.
On top of all this, DJI Mavic Mini 2 also presents some amazing specs, an upgraded 10km max control range, from the previous 4km. Flight time is also quite impressive if we take into consideration how small the Drone is. Per battery, The Mini 2 has a max flight time of 31 minutes.
The Mavic Mini 2 is the ideal compact camera drone to carry around with you. The built-in camera has 12MP and records 4K video at 30 frames per second. It also makes use of a 3-axis stabilized gimbal that eliminates vibration and ensures a steady high-quality image.
The Drone of course, can also transmit Live Video in high-quality, real-time with no latency whatsoever. The best FPV experience you can get from a drone within this budget.
3. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom – Upgrade Pick
Yep, in the $1000 price range, DJI continues to reign supreme. Our top 3 drones are rounded off with another one from DJI, the Mavic 2 Zoom.
The Mavic Pro was DJI’s first product aimed at easy transportation by making use of a unique and very efficient foldable design. For quite some time it was the only serious high-end drone capable of perfectly matching the foldable + autonomous + high-quality camera, criteria.
One of the reasons why Mavic 2 Zoom was such a hit among people who had never flown a drone before, it’s in part due to its top performance. Even a baby could fly this. That might be an overstatement, but it’s almost true.
The DJI Mavic Pro has the perfect hover, perfect stability, perfect responsive controls. If you never have flown a drone before and you got the money, DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is the ideal choice.
Of course, as expected, Mavic 2 Zoom doesn’t fall behind in its specifications. In terms of flight time, the maximum is 31 minutes(depends on payload, speed, and wind). Max control range, in perfect flight conditions, is an astonishing 18 km!!
Editors Note: 18 km is twice that of the nearest competitor. The Mavic 2 easily won 1st place in our long-range drones review.
Top Speed measures in at 44 mph too, which is in the racing drone territory!
Note: The control range actually exceeds battery time. In other words, the drone will lose battery power before it loses signal.
If you follow YouTube Vloggers such as the widely famous Casey Neistat, you will surely be familiar with the breathtaking aerial video quality of Mavic Pro. This is Casey’s (the YouTuber) favorite drone to carry around with him to film day-to-day sightseeing and capture the world’s beauty from an aerial point of view.
The Mavic Zoom’s camera can take 12MP still photos and shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second. If you wish to have 120fps however you must shoot at 720p. The camera is on a 3-axis gimbal that eliminates vibration. The lens is the only one in the review with optical zoom!
4. DJI Mavic Pro – Best Value-for-Money Drone Bundle
You might be asking yourself…why would I want to get the Mavic Pro, when the Mavic 2 Pro has been released?
Well, the secret DJI is not telling you, is that the Mavic Pro is almost as good as the Mavic Pro 2, but $500 dollars cheaper!
For under 900 dollars, you get the full bundle, with 2 batteries, remote control, and every lot’s of other accessories you need.
When comparing the Pro to the Mavic Air (which is just 15% cheaper), it’s clear to see why the Pro hits the sweet spot as our go to value-for-money drone bundle in this price category.
Longer range, longer flight time and a built-in Gimbal make this the best Drone under $1000 in 2019.
The Pro is a slightly larger drone than the Mavic Air, and with that boasts a longer range and flight time. The Mavic Pro has a flight time of 27 minutes and a maximum control range of 4.3mi (7km).
Need more than that? Didn’t think so:=)
One of the main characteristics of the Mavic Pro is without a doubt its camera. If you love aerial photography and videography you will appreciate that this comes with a great 4K Camera.
The Mavic Pro comes with a 1/2.3″ CMOS image sensor able to capture 12MP still photos with HDR and create 32MP spherical panorama shots.
But what separates it from the cheaper Mavic Air, and DJI Spark is the Gimbal!
Having a dedicated Gimbal is a huge upgrade over the cheaper “digitally” stabilized models.
The camera can also shoot true 4K video at 30fps, 2.7K at 60fps, and Full HD video at 120fps. If you are a fan of aerial footage and you occasionally travel or go to outdoor events, this is the Drone to capture it all in high quality and without any hassle. And it of course also transmits Live Video.
5. Autel Robotics EVO – Only Non-DJI Drone in the Top 5
The Autel Robotics Evo is a decent drone but gets outmatched by the DJI Mavic Series in terms of Video Quality.
The bundle that comes with this drone is great, and if you are ok with slightly sub-par video quality, but looking for great flight time and responsiveness, with a decent top speed (45 mph) then I would consider this drone as a worthy contender.
When it comes to specs, the Evo is impressive on paper. The flight time is around 30 minutes per battery, which is pretty good. The control range is 7 km (4.3 miles). This lines up pretty much even to the DJI Mavic Pro, but where the Autel Robotics beats it is in the camera…well at least on paper.
This is where the Evo really falls behind its DJI competition. Its video generally looks ok, but with some significant drawbacks.
On paper, the Autel Evo is slightly better than the Mavic Pro but not as good as the Mavic Zoom 2. Vitus 320 comes with a 4K High-Definition camera that supports 4K videos within 60fps, and still photos with 12MP. The lens is ultra-low distortion and has a 95º FOV. It is placed on a mini-sized 3-axis gimbal to eliminate vibration.
So, what are the drawbacks you ask?
The first is the color hue. The camera lends an overly blue tint to everything. While this tends to make skies look quite alive, it makes pretty much everything else look unnaturally cool. The second problem is the severe propeller intrusion.
We experienced significantly more propeller intrusion with the Autel Evo than with any of the other drones we tested in this review
6. DJI Phantom 4 v2 – The Godfather of 4K drones
The drone everyone wants. The drone everyone desires. The one and only DJI Phantom 4. It is DJI’s biggest success and one could argue, the most famous commercial drone on earth.
Notorious for its performance, autonomous features, ease of use, and camera quality. The world loves the Phantom 4 and we at BuyBestQuadcopter love it too!
Yes, you already know what I’m going to say. It’s true, Phantom 4 has a performance out of this world, a performance that can only be matched by Mavic, Vitus 320, and Yuneec.
Extremely easy to control, it’s such a smooth flyer, even a baby could fly it. Powerful and precise, even in wind conditions, Phantom 4 is a must-have to anyone that prioritizes top performance.
On top of all that we already mentioned, Phantom 4 also has over-the-top specifications. When it comes to flight time, Phantom 4 has an astonishing 28 to 31 minutes per battery (it of course depends on the speed you are flying at an overall flight conditions). The maximum range is 7km! Yes, you read that correctly, 7000 meters!
Phantom 4 comes with an amazing high-performance camera capable of shooting sharp and clean video in up to 4K at 30fps and Full HD 1080p at 120fps for slow motion. It has a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, a lens with 94º FOV (Field of View), and an f/2.8 aperture.
Still photos are taken in 12MP HDR and max video bitrate is 60mbps (keep in mind Mavic Air already features 100mbps video bitrate; newer model). No wonder Phantom 4 is one of the top choices for aerial photography and videography.
It is able to capture stunning and breathtaking photos and videos. And it can of course also transmit Live Video in amazing high-quality with no latency in transmission.
7. Yuneec Typhoon H – Hexacopter
Most drones we review are quadcopters (4 motors), however, we had to include this amazing hexacopter (6 motors) by Yuneec.
It’s the ‘6-legged’ brother of Yuneec Typhoon Q500. Typhoon H is regarded as one of the best drones for aerial photography and videography.
It is an award-winning drone, Winner of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show ‘Best of Class’.
6 Motors truly make a difference, which translates to: a highly stable hover and high payload capacity. Keep in mind it’s a large and heavy drone, a bit noisier than most, and not the best fit for first-timers, although it’s easy to fly even if you have low experience.
Yuneec Typhoon H has right on average specifications, nothing too fancy but enough to make it one of the best. The maximum control distance is 1.6km, slightly above average when compared to other same-price drones.
In terms of flight time, Yuneec details a max of 25 minutes but the reality is around 19 minutes (it of course depends on payload).
One of the highlights of this drone is without a doubt its camera. The 3-axis anti-vibration CGO3+ gimbal camera captures 4K Ultra High Definition video and 12MP still photos; can be rotated on a 360º range of motion.
It also features a high-quality glass 98º FOV (Field of View), wide-angle lens, and offers manual camera settings during flight. It also transmits Live Video directly to the Android-powered ST16 Ground Station 7-inch touchscreen.
8. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon – Great Camera Quality
The Yuneec Q500 is a favorite among drone enthusiasts that began flying drones due to it’s 4K videography and photography purposes. Yuneec Q500 ensures power, camera quality, live video, and everything for one of the cheapest prices of our Top 10 Best Drones Under $1000 list.
At his price point, it’s hard to find a better aerial photography drone. Yuneec Q500 is not fast, it’s not acrobatic, it’s a very stable quadcopter that perfectly fits any aerial photography and videography fan.
It’s very wind-resistant, stable even during medium wind conditions. It performs exactly as necessary for a camera drone.
Unfortunately, Yuneec Q500’s factory control range is a bit disappointing, only going as far as 400 meters (in perfect flight conditions and connection).
However, there’s something called “Carolina Drone range extender” that can extend the max range to a detailed 3000 meters (bought separately). So compared to other drones on this list max control range sure isn’t Q500’s highlight. The flight time, however, is a good 23 minutes.
Everything about Yuneec Q500 was designed to enhance the aerial photography and videography experience. It is a drone that ensures amazing image quality and ease of use. Perfect for film school students, semi-professional use, and much more.
Comes equipped with a 12MP CGO3 camera capable of 4K/30fps ultra high definition video and 1080p/120fps slow-motion video. It also transmits Live Video. The integrated 3-axis stabilized gimbal eliminates any vibrations.
The lens is 115º wide-angle distortion-free. If you are reading our article looking for the cheapest and most reliable camera drone under $1000, you just found it.
9. Xiaomi Mi – A Budget Drone
You probably already are familiar with the Xiaomi brand. They manufacture a wide range of products such as smartphones, action cameras, and now they have gotten into the drone market space. Their first addition is the incredible Xiaomi Mi.
Made to rival products such as the DJI Phantom and UPair One, when it comes to performance indeed Xiaomi Mi is able to rank among the best within this budget.
In fact, we were surprised at how Xiaomi was able to excel in their first try. Xiaomi Mi is a stable and easy-to-fly quadcopter with about the same performance as a Phantom 3 drone.
Are you ready to be amazed? Because we were. We didn’t expect this kind of specifications in Xiaomi’s first drone, but we were wrong, Xiaomi managed to surprise us! Mi drone has a maximum flight time of 27 minutes and a maximum control distance of 3kms!
Xiaomi Mi is available in 2 different packages, one with a 1080p camera and a second one (the most recent version) with a 4K camera. Although both cameras are amazing and provide GoPro-like image quality, we believe the 4K version is worth the difference.
The camera is placed on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal, thus eliminating vibration and always ensuring a good image. The lens is low-distortion and has a wide-angle. Mi of course also transmits Live Video in real-time in amazing quality directly to the pilot’s smartphone device (controller comes with a phone holder).
10. DJI Mavic Pro
“Ideal For: Beginners, Intermediate, Experts. Also FPV Beginners.”
As is evident from the list above, DJI is dominating the market amongst other drone manufacturers and for all the right reasons. ThePro is undoubtedly one of their best products packed with incredible features.
Probably, while searching for the best drones, you are aware, DJI has launched Mavic Pro2. You get identical features in the Mavic Pro, and that too at half the price of its successor.
At first sight, you will love its design. The package includes an extra battery, remote controller, 16GB MicroSD Card, 3 x 8330 quick release folding propellers for Mavic drone, and Gimbal Clamp.
The camera is the highlight of this drone. It captures stunning aerial shots, both photos, and videos, courtesy of its 4K camera. That it comes with a 1/2.3” CMOS image sensor lets it capture 12MP images with HDR. Furthermore, it can also create 32MP spherical panorama shots.
The flight range of up to 6 kilometers and 25 minutes of airtime, Mavic Pro, can give a good run for money to the frontrunners of the expensive drones.
The Blade Chroma has amazing specifications, as expected from a drone within this budget. Flight time is a superb 30 minutes (depends on payload), which is amazing even compared to DJI products. Chroma’s control range is also pretty astonishing, especially if we consider the drone was released a few years ago. I’m talking about a max control distance of around 2000 to 2500 meters! Many people wrongly say it’s only 200 meters due to factory limit settings.
Note 1: Chroma’s factory settings set a Geo-Fence safety max range of 200 meters, but you can access the drone’s software and change or disable the max range.
Note 2: Keep in mind the video range is only 600 meters, so even if Chroma goes further than that, you won’t have video transmission and therefore we wouldn’t recommend you to fly that far.
As we previously said, Blade Chroma is an all-in-one ready-to-fly out-of-the-box FPV drone. It comes with a 3-axis brushless stabilized gimbal that holds a 16MP camera capable of recording 1080p video.
The camera is actually very good quality, as well as the gimbal. The lens is no-distortion and eliminates the fisheye effect. The Live Video is transmitted directly to the 5” FPV screen built-in on ST-10+ the remote controller and if you want to find some drone with a worse camera quality you should look at our drones under 300 list.
What To Look For in a Camera Drone
There is a list with specific basic criteria that any camera drone should match to some extent. So you need to be aware of what you need to be looking for in a capable camera drone and know what you’re willing to compromise for the price.
Obviously important, battery life is something that will help you not feel pressured to land the drone quickly and focus enough on taking the shot. The battery life for drones is around $500 should be over 15 min in general.
Everyone needs different camera resolutions, some are happy with 1080p, others with 4k, but frankly, I prefer shooting in a higher resolution and downscaling it later. Bitrate is also important, most capable drones come with a bit rate of 60-100 Mbps.
This one is more subjective depending on what you plan to use it for. In my opinion, a strong 500m distance signal is all you need to do your job. But the drones in this list are way above that range.
There’s no doubt in my mind that having a non-shaky drone camera is much more important than resolution and even image quality. The main ways to stabilize video are 2 or 3 axis gimbals and EIS (electronic image stabilization)
GPS and Return to Home
This takes care of the safety of the flight and usually comes in handy with a few flight modes like follow me, RTH on low battery life, or low signal.
Should You Get an Expensive Drone as a Beginner?
There’s certainly a range of drones that you shouldn’t touch as a total newbie.
But funny enough, the best choices you can make for a beginner drone are at the extremes. I would personally recommend you to get a beginner drone under $1000 and/or go directly for a more expensive one that comes with GPS and even positioning sensors.
That will make it much safer than paying like $200 for an average quadcopter that is powerful but comes with the risk of crashing in the first tree just because it can’t keep its position steady.
In this article I’ll present a few of my favorite drones that all meet the beginner safety criteria I’m talking about here, but if you want to see my more complete list with specs and advantages, and disadvantages, I recommend checking out my full list with drones under $500 that should help you pick the best one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Are drones under 1000$ ideal for beginners?
Yes and no. Why? Because on the one hand, these drones have the most stable hover in the market, being able to steadily hover in the air without even the pilot touching the remote controller, they are that accurate. This is mainly due to very precise sensors, GPS-Assisted Hover, and overall fine-tuned technology. So yes, if we are talking about ease of use, flying one of these drones is the beginner’s dream.
On the other hand, these are expensive products, so if you are not practicing in an open area together with someone with more expensive… You will eventually crash the drone and might break some expensive parts. That is why we always recommend toy drones for first-timers, everyone who is flying a drone for the first time. However, if you have a safe and open area to practice, go ahead and grab one of these beauties.
2. Can I fly indoors and outdoor?
It depends. There are drones that can be flown both indoor and outdoor, while others are specific to one type of flying only. Don’t worry, when discussing each we will mention if they can be flown indoors, outdoor, or both.
3. Are these drones safe for children?
No. A great drone for a kid must have a protective frame around the propellers and the motor, a very steady hover, responsive control, a plastic frame, and be very lightweight and simple. If you want to buy a drone for your kid we would refer you to our Top 10 Drones Under $200 and under 300 lists instead.
Note: A kid with adult supervision can easily fly a DJI Phantom 4, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, and Walkera Vitus.
4. Do I have to register my drone with FAA?
If you live in the US, FAA registration is required for any unmanned aircraft for recreational and commercial use if it weighs more than 0.55lbs (250 grams).
5. Do these drones support GoPro and other action cameras?
Every drone on this list can support and carry a GoPro and other action cameras such as SJcam and Xiaomi without any issues. In fact, drones such as the Yuneec Q500 and Typhoon H can even carry professional cameras, due to the drone’s large size, powerful motors, and payload capacity.
Keep in mind practically every drone on this list already comes with a camera, and these aren’t standard cameras. We are talking about amazing cameras with 4K and Full HD quality capable of competing with GoPro, and sometimes even surpassing its image quality.
Note: DJI Spark and DJI Mavic come with their own built-in cameras (beautiful image quality, you will be amazed).
6. Are there drones under $1000 featuring a complete FPV package?
Yes! For this amount of money, you can get practically any bundle that will give you a full experience. Check out the DJI Mavic Pro and Walkera Vitus 320 for truly amazing complete FPV packages (goggles not included).
7. Are there drones under $1000 suitable for filmmaking and professional video recording?
Yes. Drones such as the Typhoon Q500 and H are capable of carrying professional cameras, thanks to the powerful motors, large size, and max payload capacity. Many companies use these drones when filming commercials, video clips, short movies, and sometimes even lower-budget cinema.
Best Drones For Under 1000 – In Conclusion
Whatever you decide to buy, you won’t regret the purchase, but keep in mind to fly responsibly and actually read the manuals beforehand so you know what to expect.
If you’re still undecided about what drone to get and want to better sort them by your own criteria you should check out this drone-finding tool. Otherwise, if you’re still a bit confused about what all these terms mean, you should check this drone term glossary I found online.
Make sure you avoid flying in crowded areas and learn to do camera moves step by step by watching youtube videos.
We hope you’ve found this article on the best drones for under 1000 dollars helpful in making a purchasing decision. What’s your favorite drone? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
Hi, I’m Regina. I’m a writer on Headphones, Shoes, for your unique needs. Regina is a self-professed Headphones, Shoes with a passion for experimenting with the latest Headphones, Shoe products, and trends. She helps create engaging content for smartliter.com’s audience.