Drones are becoming more popular among professional and hobbyist photographers, but not everyone has a huge budget for a still-somewhat-niche device. Hence the need for this list of the best drones under $1000. True, in the world of tech, newer, higher-spec devices cost more than basic options. But in my experience, budget tech can often be surprisingly impressive.
First, though, what should you expect from a quality drone under $1000? It depends on what you’d like to do with your equipment. Let’s face it: many of the drones in this price range likely will not work for projects demanding strictly professional drone image and video quality. Projects like movie and commercial filming may demand too much from them. But if you’re looking for drones for your YouTube vlogging channel, a semi-professional project, or even wedding videography, these would definitely work.
Before you begin the search, consider some criteria to keep in mind. Drones are pretty nifty devices, but they often have a frustratingly short flying time. For equipment in this price range, you can expect about 20-30 minutes.
Another factor is the control range; how far can your drone fly while still being under your control? We also recommend looking out for other basic components like picture and video quality, control accuracy, durability, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Don’t forget hover stability and built-in obstacle avoidance capabilities.
This drone is an underdog with serious power under its belt. Unlike the other drones on this list, the PowerEgg X has three action modes: AI Camera, Handheld, and Drone. In AI Camera mode, its facial recognition capabilities are hard to beat. It can easily follow moving subjects and also works for basic performance in photos and selfies.
In Handheld mode, its three-axis gimbal stability ensures that your footage is never shaky, even when there is external vibration, while capturing imagery at 4K resolution. I know you’re here for Drone mode, so I’ll get to it. This drone has a flight time of 30 minutes, and it is just as impressive every single minute it is in motion, as it is when it is handheld or static.
A well-loved feature of the PowerVision PowerEgg X is the obstacle-avoidance and precise landing capability. After all, no one wants to crash a drone that costs almost $1000. With a wind speed resistance of 29-38 kph, you don’t have to worry about this bad boy in windy or coastal weather. The manufacturer also assures customers that this drone is waterproof and will take off and land on water.
And the best news of all? The PowerEgg X has sound pickup! It syncs your phone’s microphone audio with the footage seamlessly, creating beautiful images laced with matching sound. Plus, with the smartphone app, you can quickly edit your footage right there and start bragging about that hike to your friends.
3. Parrot ANAFI
I love how compact the Parrot ANAFI drone is when folded up (224x67x65mm). This drone is designed for drone pilots who are constantly on the go. Just slip it into a padded backpack. However, it’s not all aesthetics. Its 21MP resolution camera works with a Sony sensor and the f/2.4 lens to create crisp images, even from a distance. If you get a little shutter happy like I do, you’ll love the 10 fps burst mode on this drone.
This drone also has a super-lightweight carbon frame weighing 320 g. Getting it set up won’t give you a headache, as it unfolds in less than three seconds! And yes, you can film in 4K resolution, too. Fully charged, the Parrot ANAFI can fly undisturbed for 25 minutes, thanks to the intelligent Li-Po battery which also charges 60 percent faster than normal batteries. This drone is programmed to return to its start point once its battery starts to dwindle.
This pick is perfect for hobbyist drone pilots who enjoy racing their friends. It can weather winds up to 50km/h and wind gusts up to 80km/h. Sounds like a safe bet to me.
Read our Parrot ANAFI review to get all the specs and see this drone in use.
DJI calls their Phantom 3 Standard drone “perfect for beginners” and they’re not wrong. If you’re new to flying drones and don’t want to bust out more than $1000 on new equipment, we’d recommend giving this one a try.
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter has impeccable gimbal stabilization and an intelligent flight battery that make drone flying a breeze. It flies at 16 mps and at a height of 6000m above sea level. For such a budget drone, we’d say a flight time of 25 minutes is impressive. Sick of your drones always getting lost? DJI’s flight assistant uses GPS to ensure that you only focus on your work and not navigation. I think that’s a crucial feature for drones.
With an ergonomically-designed remote control and an app that makes shooting easier, this drone is one of the easiest ones to master if you’re new to flying. If you’re an iPhone user, however, bear in mind that the app will only work on iPhone 5s and higher models. Something else to note is that this drone does not shoot 4K video, just 2.7K.
Read our complete review of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard to find out even more.
5. Walkera F210 3D (Budget Winner)
It’s hard to talk about budget drone options without mentioning brands like Altair Aerial, Cheerson, Drocon, Eachine, Force 1, Hubsan, and Holy Stone. If you’re on the hunt for drones especially under $500, these would also be excellent options. However, we’re wrapping up our list of drones under $1000 with the Walkera F210 Drone.
This Walkera is the perfect racing drone, so if you’re on the hunt for one you might want to pay extra attention here. Racing drones have to be durable enough to withstand rough weather as well as contain their speed. The good news is that this drone is made from reliable carbon fiber. It can also handle crashes better than most.
The Walkera F210 can fly safely for about 12 minutes over a remote distance of 800m. It also boasts an envy-worthy HD night vision camera whose sensors adjust automatically to light brightness. I like that this drone has everything you need to fly right out the box. Just remember to read the instructions before you take flight.
If you’d like to check out more racing drones, then you will enjoy our guide to the top five racing drones.
Ready to Fly with the Best Drones Under $1000?
We sure are! Your drone should be able to stay suspended long enough to capture that stunning landscape or whatever view you’ve got your eye on. Choose products that protect themselves from unnecessary falls and collisions, and don’t forget that even for drones under $1000, photo and video resolution matter.