No longer just for the super-rich, personal drones are skyrocketing in both popularity and affordability, and for good reason! Who doesn’t want a personal flying machine that comes equipped with a camera or video capability? Not only are they fun to fly, personal drones can capture spectacular pictures or videos from a bird’s eye view. Go Pro can take a backseat to any of the camera drones on the market, and for a mere few hundred bucks, you can have one of your very own!
Personal drones, also known as wireless RC flying machines, have never been more affordable. Sure, you can drop a few thousand on a truly spectacular model, but if your budget is more aligned with us mere mortals, we’ve put together a list of the best drones under $500.
F100 Ghost Drone with Camera
Aside from the fact that the name “Ghost Drone” just sounds really cool, this powerful little model that comes in at a bargain $179 packs a heck of a punch! It comes with Go Pro capability and flies at two speeds. It’s easy to maneuver and even kids or camera drone novices will have absolutely no problem flying this beauty. Capable of sharp twists and turns, plus flips, this drone is just pure fun. Unfortunately, the Go Pro mount leaves a little to be desired and can wobble somewhat in the air. The batteries on this model also take a long time to charge. Those minor concerns aside, this drone is a winner in our book!
- It’s very easy to assemble
- It’s easy to steer: kids and drone novices will have no problems
- The Go Pro mount is a little unstable and can wobble around
- The batteries take a long time to charge
Yuneec Breeze Flying Camera – Compact Smart Drone
At $180 this drone is a steal; what some customers have called a “hovering cameraman” that can capture some truly amazing pictures with flawless high definition. Another huge perk? You can use it right out of the box and it comes with a handy hard-shelled carrying case so you won’t accidentally squash and break it. It’s super easy to use also, with a handful of flight modes and intuitive flying capabilities that allow it to cruise around safely without crashing into other objects. In short, this is a great drone for beginners. Plus, you can connect it to social media and download the great pics you grab onto Facebook or Instagram. The downsides are that it’s not a fast flyer and there have been some issues with battery life. The drone itself comes with a warranty, but the batteries are another story. Overall, it’s a solid choice!
- You can grab some amazing shots
- Super easy to use right out of the box
- It doesn’t fly very fast
- There have been some battery issues
U49W Drone with Camera Live Video
Here’s another one coming in at the mere cost of $179 that delivers big on fun! This is one of the best drones for novices and kids because it requires only a tiny bit of assembly and only one button to fly. With three speeds and a camera that can capture live video, you’ll love flying this machine! Additionally, it comes with extra blades, motors, and batteries. It’s definitely a solid product! There are a few downsides, of course, the biggest one is that the video isn’t sharp. You won’t get the high-quality videos you get with other drones. Also, it has trouble keeping a charge.
- It is easy to assemble and fly
- It comes with extra blades, motors, and batteries
- The video isn’t super sharp
- It has trouble keeping a charge
DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone
Proving that great things come in tiny packages, this drone which is roughly as big as a King Size candy bar packs a heck of a punch. At $289, it’s on the higher end of our list, but it’s definitely worth it. First of all, it’s totally portable and perfect for travelers. You won’t have to lug around a big drone to capture some epic snaps from any remote location. It’s also intuitive so you won’t have to worry about it crashing into anything, plus maneuvering it into tight places is no problem whatsoever. It’s a dream to fly. Unfortunately, as far as camera drones go, it’s on the lower end of the video quality scale, which is a shame because it keeps this little miracle from being perfect. It also has a notoriously low battery life, so your flying adventures will have an expiration time.
- It is intuitive and easy to maneuver around tight spaces
- It is tiny but powerful
- The video quality isn’t that great
- It tends to run out of battery life quickly
DROCON Bugs 6 Brushless Racing Drone
We’re capping off the list with a great little drone that comes in at just $99. That’s right, you can get an awesome drone for less than $100, and this is it. This baby is fast, easy to control and handles distance flights with ease. It’s the ultimate racing drone, perfect for people who like to play around with toys built for speed, and has an alarm system that alerts the user if the drone is running out of juice. The alarm system is awesome because it prevents crashes and problems mid-flight. It doesn’t come with a camera, but you can upgrade to one. You have to buy the camera separately and install it. Some users have reported issues with the motor, specifically that the life expectancy isn’t up to par. The cost of this flying machine is low, but it could add up if you have to replace the motor and install a camera.
- It is really fast and very easy to operate
- Excellent quality for the price
- There is no camera on the original version, although you can upgrade
- There are some problems with the life expectancy of the motor
With so many amazing options on the market, everyone can own and operate a drone for only a few hundred dollars. Simply choose what’s most important to you, whether it’s speed, size, ease of use or video capability, and find the model that best suits your needs and budget. Happy flying!