The DJI Mavic Air was DJI's response to those that loved the features of the Mavic Pro, but did not want to go as small...
- 21 - MIN
- 4K - 30 FPS
- 42.5 - MPH
- 2 - MILES
Introduced in 2016, the DJI Mavic Pro redefined portability for consumer drones. The folding design made for a drone that could safely slide into a backpack...
- 27 - Minutes
- 4K - 30 FPS
- 40 - MPH (65 KPH)
- 4.3 - MILES
One of the shortest lived Phantom drones, the DJI Phantom 4 was a solid bridge between the Phantom 3 and the much more capable Phantom...
- 28 - Minutes
- 4K - 30 FPS
- 45 - MPH
- 3.1 - MILES
The Typhoon H was the initial folding retail hexacopter from Yuneec. This capable machine matched the Phantom drones at launch for camera quality and flight...
- 25 - Minutes
- 4K - 30 FPS
- 43.5 - MPH
- 1 - MILE
The DJI Mavic Mini is the smallest Mavic drone released to date. Offering 2.7K video and great flight features in a package small enough to...
- 30 - Minutes
- 2.7K - 12MP
- 29 - MPH
- 2.5 - Miles
We have a theory about the current state of the drone market, there are some great machines at lower prices, but you really start to get into the best of the bunch when you visit a list like this one here today. After exploring some of the least expensive drones on the market, and bumping things up to the $500 range, it’s now time to get serious about quadcopter shopping. Join us for our list of the best drones under $1000.
At this price point, we’ve moved beyond toy class drones and the majority of FPV racers, we’re now looking at the lower-end of the camera drones. These are the entry level drones for those looking to capture those epic aerial photos and video. Let’s dive in.
Best drones under $1000
Fun toy drones:
DJI Mavic Air
January 2018Release Date
DJI found great success with the Mavic Pro, they followed that up with the far less expensive Spark. The Mavic Air bridges the gap between these two, offering all the fun features from the smaller Spark as well as all the pro flight features of the Mavic Pro. Better yet, the Mavic Air introduced a 100Mbps data rate for video capture on a DJI drone under $1500. That sounds like a mouthful, suffice to say that the Mavic Air instantly took the crown for the best video at the lowest price of any drone on the market.
After the launch of the Mavic 2 series of drones, we had to recommend the newer Mavic line as the best camera on a compact drone, but the Mavic Air still remains our top pick if ultimate portability is your concern. The Mavic Air manages to pack down to almost fit comfortably in your pocket.
DJI Mavic Pro
November 2016Release Date
The DJI Mavic Pro is a compact, folding drone that was a pioneer for portability. This quadcopter folds down to fit easily in a backpack, or large pocket, while opening up to take 4K video to over 40mph in the sky. The 3-axis stabilized gimbal offers very smooth footage and OcuSync enables long range and HD live video streaming. The Phantom line of drones may have established DJI as a leader in the consumer drone market, but the Mavic Pro made high-quality aerial photography fun and highly accessible.
DJI Phantom 4
March 2016Release Date
Carrying the DJI Phantom line torch from early 2016 until late 2016, the DJI Phantom 4 offered a familiar flight experience and solid camera performance for pilots. It may have held only a short time in the lime-light, taking over from the Phantom 3 and being replaced by the far more capable Phantom 4 Pro, but it was a well respected drone in the series. This was the last Phantom drone to ship with a 1/2.3-inch camera sensor, all Phantom drones since are equipped with a full 1-inch sensor, but it still offered 4K video capture and 12MP photos. With a flight time of about 28 minutes and a range of about 3 miles at 45 mph, the Phantom 4 remains on par with some of the best drones on the market today.
Check out the DJI Phantom 4 for about $999, but keep in mind that the drone has been discontinued, prices may fluctuate with availability of remaining stock.
Yuneec Typhoon H
June 2016Release Date
The Yuneec Typhoon H is a folding hexacopter with 4K camera and effective flight features. The design has become iconic of Yuneec drones, offering the safety and stability of six propellers and the versatility of a center-hanging camera. The remote control of the Typhoon H is an Android powered device with built-in 7-inch display and all the controls needed to navigate the aircraft and operate the camera.
GPS connectivity and multiple smart flight modes ensure a successful flight for most pilots and operations. Basic obstacle avoidance sensors help keep things safe, with the option of the Typhoon H Pro with equipped Intel RealSense collision avoidance sensors.
The attached CGO3+ camera offers 4K video resoplution at 30 fps and still images at 12MP. As a discontinued drone, you can still find the Yuneec Typhoon H for about $1199.
DJI Mavic Mini
November 2019Release Date
With a long list of drones that start with the name Mavic, DJI has launched yet another consumer machine, perhaps their most consumer friendly yet, the new, very compact, folding DJI Mavic Mini.
As the name implies, the DJI Mavic Mini is a very small machine, and in true DJI fashion, it has few compromises to make it all work. The first thing to note is that the Mavic Mini weighs less than 0.55 lbs, which means you do not need to register it with the FAA before flight. Registration is quick and easy, but not requiring it at all is a bonus.
Related reading: DJI Mavic Mini review
Reminder: You may not have to register the Mavic Mini, but it's still a drone, you still have to follow the rules!
Don't let the small size fool you, this drone packs a 12MP camera, shoot 2.7K video from a 3-axis stabilized Gimbal and has all of the flight features you'd expect from a Mavic drone today.
Yuneec Mantis G
October 2019Release Date
The Yuneec Mantis G is everything we had hoped for in the original Mantis Q. We can't see the difference between these drones, save for the new stabilized camera Gimbal. Superb flight time, easy controls, voice activated features, a compact design that folds small for transport and a 4K camera all sound good to us.
Yuneec understands they have stiff competition in this portion of the drone market. They build mostly for the commercial space, but fun drones like the Mantis line and larger Typhoon hexacopters have a tough battle. The Mantis G is a leap forward for the company. We had a hard time recommending the Mantis Q to users that cared about shooting video, now we can put the DJI Mavic 2 drones and this new Mantis G in the same sentence.
Based on price and camera sensor size, the Yuneec Mantis G best competes with the DJI Mavic Air, which is to say it is a viable option for hobby pilots looking for a reliable drone to fly.
The Yuneec Mantis G will be $699 at launch in October 2019.
Purchase links coming soon!
Drone legal and safety
Yuneec Mantis Q
August 2018Release Date
The Yuneec Mantis Q is an easy drone to get excited about, it packs a slim, folding form-factor, it flies for longer than most drones on the market, it has DJI Mavic Air level specifications and it has a cool trick, voice commands. We must admit, the long list of flight features and modes exceeded our needs of a drone, but the things we asked it to do, it did very well. 33 minutes of flight time allows for a lot of action in the air, the voice control features make for a good time as well.
We understand that this is a first generation of the product, we really like it, but the camera is not stabilized. It's obvious that this drone was made for pilots, not for photographers. That about sums up our opinion of the machine: if you are looking for a fun drone to fly, the Mantis Q is fantastic, if you are looking for a flying camera, this isn't the drone you're looking for.
Check out the Yuneec Mantis Q for about $450 on Amazon, down from its original $499 price at launch.
July 2018Release Date
The Parrot Anafi is one of the best entries from Parrot for the consumer camera drone market. Recognizing the power of an articulating gimbal, the new 21MP, 4K camera is able to point all the way down and rotate to pointing all the way up. This is extremely powerful for inspection services on commercial drones, but is built into a consumer friendly folding quadcopter design.
The drone itself is a step up from Parrot's usual mostly-foam build. Foam is great for building size without adding much weight, instead the Anafi is a much sleeker package with a plastic body.
Look for the now-common set of features in the Anafi, such as folding propeller arms, folding propellers, a compact size and a stabilized 4K camera. The remote control uses your phone as a display and you can swap batteries to expand your flight day. The Parrot Anafi sells for $699, but you can often find deals to save a few dollars.
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
April 2015Release Date
The original DJI Phantom 3 was an iconic drone. Its design is still emulated and celebrated on many machines today. There were a few versions of the Phantom 3, with the DJI Phantom 3 Pro topping things off with a 4K camera, extended flight range and better GPS and positioning tools. The industry has come a long, long way since the Phantom 3 Pro hit the market in 2015, but it's still a fin drone to play with.
Check out the DJI Phantom 3 Pro for $770 on Amazon today, just keep in mind that prices and availability will fluctuate for this discontinued drone.
May 2017Release Date
The DJI Spark introduced a brand new segment for the drone company, launching a tiny machine that packs more fun features than powerful specs. This drone had everyone talking about the Jedi mind tricks you can play with the machine, using the front camera and object detection to accept hand gestures for some basic controls. All of these fun flight features made for a focus on two other features, the ability to fly without a remote control in hand and making you the object of the flight.
The DJI Spark is small enough to easily pack around wherever you might like to go. It's powerful enough to combat some decent winds and the 12MP camera can snap some fun photographs. While the camera may have a 4K sensor on the inside, it only records 1080p video. The HD video resolution allows the use of the extra pixels for image stabilization. The Spark mechanically stabilizes two-axis of movement, using the sensor cropping to handle side-to-side image stabilization. Admitting that this makes for some of the worst video capture from a DJI drone in the last 5 years, we can't deny that that is still pretty good, and the compact nature and low price of the drone make it well worth consideration.
January 2018Release Date
UVify has a rich history in drone racing. They understand that the future racers need to start somewhere, developing the UVify OOri as a fantastic beginner's race drone. Slow and stable for practicing in your living room, this machine can open up to over 50MPH when you want to win a race. Agile, light-weight and fast, the UVify OOri is great for beginners on a budget.
There may be less expensive beginner drones out there, but if quality is of concern to you, the UVify OOri for $295 is hard to beat in the segment.
If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.
Walkera F210 3D FPV racer
We’ve spent most of this list looking at flying cameras, now to a drone that has a little different focus, racing! There are many great FPV racing drones out there, it’s a growing sport that may even land in the Olympics, if rumor is accurate. This Walkera F210 3D is one such racer that promises all the high speed thrills of VR goggle racing.
Designed for high speeds and crazy maneuverability in tight quarters, this is a low range drone with night vision cameras offering up to 8 minutes of intense flight. Carbon fiber keeps things light and strong, which we suspect will be important at some point.
Check out the Walkera F210 3D racer for $339 on Amazon.
If you are ready to go pro with your racing drone, the Uvify Draco is one of the best on the market today. The modular built carbon fiber frame has replaceable arms, which will come in handy when you smack a pole or tree at over 80 mph. Uvify has a growing suite of drones, accessories and software available as well. Please start with a smaller racing drone before you dive into this beast.
With the many great drones on the market, and a handful of awkward and low-quality ones as well, we hope this list helps steer you to the right drone for your needs. If these units do not suite you, be sure to check out some of our other more specific lists:
What do you say, is there a drone out there between $500 and $1000 that you think a new flyer should look at? What is the best drone under $1000 in your opinion?