Best Drones for under $1000 for 2021 – find out which top quality quadcopter drones can be purchased for a reasonable price. Reviews of DJI, Parrot and more.
Drones are undoubtedly one of the best inventions available on the market and it is a real pleasure to fly them. You can find high-quality drones under $1000 that come with a wide variety of impressive features, such as the Headless Mode, intelligent battery systems and more.
Best drones for your money
1. DJI Mavic Pro
Before the Mavic Air and Spark, the DJI Mavic Pro was the go-to small quadcopter with a camera for DJI fans. The Mavic Pro is impressively portable. Weighing only 743g, the drone can be folded down and can be easily carried even in small bags. In fact, it is one-sixth of its actual size, when folded. But do not let that diminutive size fool you, for the quadcopter is solidly built.
The battery delivers flight time of approximately 25 minutes per charge. Moreover, the top speed is 40mph. The three-axis gimbal comes with a 12MP camera, and there is also a remote control that functions in tandem with an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. There are four more cameras that help with safety and in-flight stability.
- Spry flier
- Good flight time
- Long transmission range
- Low-light images aren’t great
- Battery takes time to recharge
2. DJI Phantom 3
The DJI Phantom 3 is an easy-to-operate, high-end drone that even beginner drone flyers can use. You can start capturing professional-grade pictures and videos with this quadcopter right away. The camera is straddled on a three-axis stabilizing gimbal mechanism that compensates for slight drone movements and smooths out rotor-caused vibrations.
The 20mm camera helps capture quality pictures, particularly in low-light scenarios. The 94-degree field of view provides you minimal overall barrel distortion. Also, there are multiple frame rates and resolutions. The camera restricts you to 30fps when shooting 4K but goes up to 60fps when shooting 720p footage.
On a charge, the Phantom 3 can fly anywhere between 20 to 25 minutes with moderate camera usage. Use the camera constantly and the flight period would reduce. The drone offers solid accelerations and deceleration that help avoid potential obstacles. Also, it corrects for wind, meaning it can manage slight winds.
- Easy to fly
- Fast GPS processing
- Solid three-axis gimbal
- Intelligent Flight Modes
- Camera is not upgradable or removable
- No visual positioning system
- Landing feet doesn’t retract
3. DJI Mavic Air
The DJI Mavic Air is an easy-to-use, portable drone that is simple enough for beginners to fly and exciting enough to keep the pros entertained. The camera is one of the highlights of this drone. From movement-tracked shots, to swooping videos, to excellent panoramas, the camera truly offers myriad options. And enhancing the experience are 4K video recording, gesture controls, and a steady gimbal.
This light and compact drone comes with location scanning cameras too. There are six of them – a couple each on the front, bottom and rear. Weighing in at 430g, the drone folds down easily when you flip the propeller shafts. The controller is compact too and can easily fit into your pocket when folded down.
As far as flight controls go, the drone is quite accurate and can follow hand swipes. It mimics movements even when it’s quite far away. This feature isn’t a gimmick and comes in quite handy when you don’t want to use the controller to capture photos and videos.
- Extremely compact and portable
- Gesture controls
- Myriad camera options
- Smooth 4K video
- Average battery life
- Zero side sensors
4. DJI Spark
The DJI Spark strikes the right balance between affordability, compactness and automated features. While it’s small, the Spark comes equipped with all the latest drone technology, which includes obstacle detection, stabilization, and GPS. DJI Spark comes in different colors: Sky Blue, Alpine White, Lava Red, Meadow Green and Sunrise Yellow.
The Spark has an angular body, and the propellers can be folded to make it smaller than it already is. The rotor blades lock into flight posture once they begin spinning. Unlike other drones, the DJI Spark has stubbly feet instead of extended landing gear. This keeps the drone size small and also helps with holding it comfortably.
Despite being a small drone, the Spark’s body is quite solid and dense. The limbs too feel quite sturdy due to the heavy ribbing. With the drone’s body exhibiting almost zero visible seams, it’s apparent the Spark’s fuselage is primarily molded using one solid plastic piece.
- Obstacle avoidance
- Ultra-compact form-factor
- Excellent performance
- Automatic Quickshot modes
- Short flight time
- Easily swayed
- No 4K camera
5. Parrot Anafi
The Parrot Anafi Drone immortalizes every moment in high-resolution thanks to a vertically tilting camera that is ideal for low angle shots. Three-axis image stabilization delivers smooth, crisp images. Its exterior, which is made of carbon fiber is more than attractive. This does not affect the weight and the unit’s overall appearance because the Parrot Anafi remains compact and lightweight.
In addition, it has a digital zoom that counteracts losses better than other models. This drone captures spectacular images: 4K video, full HD or 2.7K (2704×1520) and 21 MP photos. The camera boasts wide-angle f/2.4 ASPH lens and digital zoom up to 2.8 times without loss of quality. In addition, you have a burst mode that captures 10 photos per second, a timer and assistants to handle the professional settings.
The Parrot ANAFI Drone has 25 minutes of filming flight time thanks to a smart Li-Po battery that maximizes battery life and recharges up to 60 percent faster with the compatible USB.
The unit comes with the integrated Geobarrier technology that allows it to detect and avoid obstacles. Its smart functions are designed to enable the device to return to its starting point in the event that the battery discharges or if the connection is lost. The drone produces a sound signal or engages an automatic geolocation if you lose sight thanks to the application, Find My Drone.
The product is a formidable quadcopter with the futuristic design that makes it look more like a flying spider. Its frame is fairly flat but also features a rectangular shape. It has four feet, which are fitted with propellers. Control of the Parrot Anafi is handled using the intuitive FreeFlight 6 interface. It gives access to all the functionalities and settings.
At the same time, the latter records video and images assisted by the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Combined Hyperlapse and Slow-Motion video modes are added to this interface to speed up or slow down the capture of images. With the AI, the visual tracking system and the virtual assistant, you will be more than well equipped to enjoy a great time with the device. Price – $649.99.
– Skycontroller 3 folding remote control
– Find My Drone function
– Intelligent Li-Po battery
– USB Type C charger
– FreeFlight 6 mobile application
– Captures 4K videos, Full HD or 2.7K videos
Pros and cons
- Sublime design
- Perfect for wide-angle images
- Camera zoom without distorting the image
- It is foldable and fits easily
- Its camera can rotate up to 180 degrees for low-angle shots
- The changeable propeller makes it very convenient
- Intelligent Li-Po battery boosts flight time and charges faster
- The remote control is heavy
6. Parrot Bebop 2
Parrot Bebop 2 is an excellent drone capable of shooting in full HD and controllable up to 164 yards. The Parrot brand is one of the favorite drone manufacturers for beginners. With the unit’s power pack and FPV glasses, you can capture quality aerial shots in Full HD thanks to the fish-eye sensor and the stabilization software.
The drone is smart and there are plenty of flying modes to capture footage from different angles. The modes include Follow-me, Point of Interest, Return to home and more. This is a reliable drone that has proven itself.
The Bebop 2 is produced by the French company Parrot, which is known for smart and innovative designs. This drone is perfect for people who want to capture good quality videos without spending a fortune.
The FPV glasses are more convenient and portable. They offer several benefits, including greater comfort. Compared to other FPV accessories, the glasses are the most comfortable to use. For those who have eyesight issues, correction lenses for the model can be ordered on the internet.
The unit is capable of live video recording with the DVR (video stream recorder). In the event of a crash, it is faster to locate your drone by rewinding the video. The 2,700 mAh battery allows, despite its significant weight, a flight time of 25 minutes.
The unit boasts a vertical camera, an. All these components allow automatic stabilization of the device and they work. This is the case even if you fly it from your smartphone with the companion app, which is less intuitive than a controller that makes the flight incredibly fluid.
The camera drone detects wind and disturbances and compensates them easily. You can even set an Xbox controller for the drone. A remote control with a screen can be purchased separately but it can prove cumbersome. The companion app does not work miracles in terms of maneuverability but it functions via a Wi-Fi signal produced by the drone.
Several adjustment options for the camera are available via the application. You can adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and white balance. The internal memory is only 8GB, which necessitates transferring the content before each use to make room for new footage. In general, the Bebop 2 has made significant progress compared to its predecessor and offers a mid-range product. Parrot Bebop 2 price – $419.
– Full HD smart camera
– 8GB internal memory
– Ultrasonic sensor
– Acceleration sensor
– Multiple flight modes (Follow-me, Point of Interest, Return to home and more)
Pros and cons
- Compatible with an Xbox controller
- Detects winds and disturbances
- Automatic flight stabilization
- Controllable up to 164 yards
- Companion app reduces responsiveness
7. Walkera F210 3D Drone
In the world of racing drones, the Walkera F210 3D is one of the best drones you will find on the market. It features a night and day vision camera, rugged construction, simple customizations and many innovative features. Walkera has done a great job to protect the basic components in the event of a fall and the parts are easy to replace.
The big plus of this F210 drone is that you can change the flight characteristics directly by adjusting the flight controller to your specifications. The F210 3D is lightweight and agile, especially when performing demanding maneuvers.
There is no guarantee that you will win races with the Walkera F210 3D, but in any case, you will have a high-performance machine at your disposal. Price – $449 ($349 with discounts)
– 3D aerobatic mode
– Optimized flight controller
– Day and night vision camera
- Rugged construction
- Capable of high-speed flying
- May not bind to the Devo 7 transmitter
Drone selection tips
Oftentimes, drone enthusiasts like to capture aerial photos and video footage. As such, the quality of the camera is an important factor to take into account when buying a drone. If you choose a unit that is equipped with a camera, ensure that it has the ability to capture quality images (4K, full HD) under different weather conditions, indoors as well as outdoors.
You can also buy a drone that allows you to mount an action cam, such as the GoPro. In this way, you will capture quality photos during the flight. If you want to fix your GoPro, choose a drone capable of mounting this type of action camera. You can also add a platform that will allow better stabilization of your camera.
You can choose drones with one or multiple piloting modes. When it comes to radio control, its operation varies, depending on the drone (between 2.4 and 5.8 GHz). This prevents interference that may harm your drone, including Wi-Fi connections. Depending on the size, weight and power of your drone, the radio controls can cover a distance of between 21 to 550 yards.
The difference between a child drone and an adult drone is the level of piloting and the age of the pilot. If your child is still small, opt for a drone sold in a toy store. You will find the indication corresponding to the child’s age on the package. This type of drone is especially intended for use indoors to prevent the child from flying too far.
You can also buy two at the same time so that the child can continue to have fun a little longer if the first breaks too early. Some drones are equipped with throwers, arrows or bullets to the delight of children who can have fun with friends. For teenagers, introduce them to flying by offering a mini-drone designed for beginner adults. Mini drones are easier to use, fly fast and are available for a reasonable price while you prepare to invest, later, in a more complex and expensive drone.
The brand Parrot invented the companion app integration that allows pilots to control and visualize the drone flights via a smartphone or tablet. However, this type of control lacks precision and the Wi-Fi range is limited to about 76 yards. This is suitable for a small drone that flies indoors.
With the Follow Me mode, your drone will follow you wherever you go. For this, you will need GPS function so that it can locate the remote controller in real time. Choose a drone with this useful driving mode if you want to film yourself at a party while playing sport or to make Vlogs during a trip. Nevertheless, this method is far from perfect. Thus, if you climb high or you encounter an obstacle during your trip, your drone may lose track or crash on the ground.
You can also control your drone with First Person View (FPV) goggles. With these virtual glasses and a video transmitter attached to your drone, you can control your device as if you were on board. This method of flying is ideal for racing drone pilots since high-level of piloting is required.
The battery and flight time
If you want to fly your drone outdoors, battery life is a factor not to be overlooked. Depending on the quality, size and weight of the drone, it can fly between 5 and 45 minutes. If you opt for a model, such as the Phantom, you can fly for 28 minutes. However, the time indicated by the manufacturers may vary depending on the weather conditions and the accessories used by your drone.
Depending on the model, you can replace the original battery with a more powerful option. Also, remember to bring a spare battery if the unit’s battery is removable and additional batteries are not provided at the time of purchase. It is also practical to opt for a drone with a light indicator that can warn you when the battery power is low. This will prevent the unit from falling due to a flat battery.back to menu ↑
Top brands for drones under $1000
A number of leading drone manufacturers offer quality drones for under $1000 from which to choose. The brands include Parrot, MJX, Yuneec, DJI and more. Available in several configurations, DJI’s Phantom 3 is the drone that paved the way for the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro thereafter. It is undoubtedly one of the best drones under $1000 that DJI has to offer.
The other options include the classic Phantom 3 for smaller budgets, the Phantom 3 4K for those who just want a boost in video quality and the Phantom 3 Advanced, which is closest to the Phantom 4 with 4K recording.
Drone prices vary between $30 and $5,000. The low-end prices correspond to drones for children or mini-drones intended for beginners. Although the latter integrate more feature options, such as a camera they remain of poor quality and fail, if they are not crushed on the ground, after a few flights. If you want to start with a good quality material, plan a minimum of $300.
At this price, you will have a drone, such as the Hubsan X4 H107D equipped with a video camera but has a flight time of only ten minutes. For about $600, you will have a more powerful machine with good autonomy and more powerful engines. If you exceed $1000, you will enjoy a professional drone whose autonomy can go up to 45 minutes.