After seeing a couple of friends do it and watching enough videos on TikTok and YouTube, you’ve decided you want to buy a drone.
However, after doing a bit of research, the prices left your jaw on the floor.
It seems that the only affordable drones on the market are toy drones for kids. You want a real drone but nothing terribly expensive, either. This way, if you damage or break the drone, you’re not out a lot of money.
Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a kids’ drone to cut your teeth at flying. We’ve scoured the internet high and low to bring you this collection of affordable, adult-appropriate drones.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Don’t be mistaken; affordable doesn’t mean cheap!
These drones won’t last forever since they have a low price point, but they’re anything but toy drones. Let’s dive in.
1. DJI Mini 2
Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter, 3-Axis Gimbal with 4K Camera, 12MP Photo, 31 Mins Flight Time, OcuSync 2.0 10km HD Video Transmission, QuickShots Gray
Dimensions: 138 x 81 x 58 mm
Weight: 242 grams
Max Range: 10 km
Max Altitude: 4,000 m
Max Speed: 36 mph
Max Flying Time: 31 mins
Video Resolution: 4K 24 to 30 fps
- 4x zoom so you can take photos and videos from a safe distance
- Portable and foldable
- Lightweight enough that you don’t have to register it with FAA
- Flies for up to 31 minutes in optimal conditions
- Not the newest DJI Mini drone
Lightweight, high-flying, foldable, and portable, the DJI Mini 2 is a quadcopter worth talking about.
We recognize it’s been usurped by the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, but those DJI offerings are a bit outside of your price range.
The Mini 2 only costs about $400 these days, which is not bad for a DJI drone!
In the box, you’ll find one pair of spare control sticks, one RC cable Lightning Connector, one RC USB-C connector, and one RC micro-USB connector.
You also get a gimbal protector, Type-C cable, one pair of spare propellers, one Intelligent Flight Battery, one remote controller, and the Mini 2 itself.
The 4K camera and three-axis gimbal stabilize your footage, including 12MP images and 4K videos at 30 fps. Its wind resistance at up to 38 kph and 4,000 meters of altitude will reduce blurry, unclear footage.
One of the smartest drones on this list, the Mini 2 comes with precision hovering, automatic takeoff, and Smart Return to Home to minimize the likelihood of losing your drone due to poor signal, low battery, or hazards in the area.
The Mini 2 offers a fun array of modes for recording videos and photos you’ll gladly add to your portfolio.
Your options are Boomerang, Circle, Rocket, Helix, and Dronie. With 4x zoom, you can take stunning footage even if you’re not super close.
The DJI Fly app and its compatibility with this drone take usage to a whole new level.
You can browse and select templates for your footage to make it even more one-of-a-kind, segment and trim video footage, and send videos and photos straight to your phone at 20 MB/s with QuickTransfer.
Fly for up to 31 minutes at a clip, and when you’re done, fold up this durable drone and take it home to gear up for next time.
2. DJI Mini SE
Dimensions: 159 x 203 x 56 mm when unfolded without propellers
Weight: 242 grams
Max Range: 2.4 mi
Max Altitude: 3,000 m
Max Speed: 46.8 kph
Max Flying Time: 30 mins
Video Resolution: 2.7K to FHD
- A low-cost DJI drone – those are hard to come by!
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Great wind resistance for its size
- Easy-to-use remote control
- Not all phones are compatible with the DJI Fly app
You’ll “fly as you are,” as DJI says, with the Mini SE, the first of a few affordable DJI drones on this list.
The base drone costs around $300, while the Fly More Combo is closer to $500 (so maybe skip that since you want to save money).
Videographers, rejoice. The DJI Fly app includes Creator Templates for making professional-looking footage.
The app also offers a Flight Tutorial so if this is your first DJI drone (or your first drone, period), you can easily figure it out.
Let’s discuss the weight of the Mini SE, shall we? It weighs under 249 grams. It just meets the weight threshold for not having to register it, so you can still skip that step.
The lightweight profile also makes handling this drone a breeze.
The weight of the Mini SE also means you can take advantage of relaxed drone laws, and not only when flying in the United States, but other parts of the world.
The three-axis gimbal and 2.7K camera can transmit HD video at up to 4 kilometers and shoot in 12MP image quality and 2.7K HD video quality.
DJI makes recording and editing as simple as possible so you’ll want to take your drone everywhere and use it often.
The Vision Sensor and GPS Precise Hover enable more stability.
Speaking of stability, the Mini SE can handle winds up to 38 kph at its max altitude of 4,000 meters. You don’t have to let a windy day prevent you from using your drone!
Flying for up to 30 minutes at a time, the Mini SE won’t fail when you need it most!
3. Ryze Tech Tello
Dimensions: 98 x 92.5 x 41 mm
Weight: 80 grams
Max Range: ~100 m
Max Altitude: 30 m
Max Speed: 8 m/s
Max Flying Time: 13 minutes
Video Resolution: HD729P30
- Safety features prevent unstable use and crashing due to poor connection or low/no battery
- Easy to use and almost foolproof
- Has many automated features and modes so you can look like a drone pro even if you aren’t
- Video and image quality could be better
- No GPS
For just under $100, you can own a drone powered by DJI, the Ryze Tech Tello. This mini drone quadcopter is suitable for the whole family, from kids to adults!
An included video positioning system built into the drone keeps the Tello hovering exactly where you want it.
Also adding to its precision is a failsafe landing feature. Even if your drone loses its connection, the Tello will still land somewhere safely instead of crashing.
Maintaining its battery won’t be a challenge, as the Tello has a low-battery alert. You’ll know when it’s time to reel it in and call it a day.
Launching this drone also couldn’t be simpler, as you can just tap once, and whoosh, the Tello is in the sky!
Once it’s up there, collision detection prevents it from hitting just anything, even if you aren’t the most masterful at flying drones yet.
The Intel image processor included with the Tello allows you to shoot in 5MP high-resolution image quality. Electronic image stabilization ensures more of your images come out clear.
EZ Shots is another great feature for the drone photographer or videographer. You can take short clips using modes like Up & Away, 360, and Circle.
Those are just scratching the surface though, as the Tello also has modes such as Bounce, 8D Flips, and Throw & Go.
Bounce Mode allows you to bounce the Tello in your hand to launch it, 8D Flips enable the Tello to do awesome stunts, and Throw & Go is another simple launching maneuver.
The Tello can fly up to 100 high meters, transmitting footage in 720p HD quality. You can operate it using the included controller or a VR headset (you must purchase the headset separately).
Download the Tello App to get the most out of your drone. It’s available for free.
4. Holy Stone HS175D
GPS Drone with 4K Camera for Adults, HS175D RC Quadcopter with Auto Return, Follow Me, Brushless Motor, Circle Fly, Waypoint Fly, Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, 46 Mins Long Flight.
Dimensions: 145 x 90 x 60 mm
Weight: 215 grams
Max Range: 500 m
Max Altitude: 100 m
Max Speed: 100 mph
Max Flying Time: 23 mins
Video Resolution: 4K
- Don’t need to register it with the FAA
- Looser drone restrictions
- Folds up
- Easy to use with various modes, including several RTH modes
- Doesn’t have a far range
Next, we’ve got the Holy Stone HS175, a compact, lightweight drone. It’s under the 250-gram threshold, which means you don’t have to bother registering it with the FAA if you’re using it recreationally.
Not only that, but at its low weight, the HS175 is exempt from many laws about flying over and near people and buildings. That said, you must always use your drone responsibly no matter its weight!
For under $300, the 4K ultra-clear camera with a 90-degree adjustable and 110-degree wide-angle camera lens is super impressive. You’ll enjoy taking high-resolution photos again and again.
If you’re more into shooting videos with your drone, the 5GHz FPV transmission rate lets you send videos seamlessly. You can post on social media as you take your footage!
Two modular batteries come with your purchase. Those batteries support up to 23 minutes of drone flight. By upgrading the batteries, you can fly for up to 46 minutes, says Holy Stone.
The Circle Flight Application feature is compatible with your smartphone. Select a fixed point on your map, and your Holy Stone drone will take off automatically, flying in a circle to reach your selected spot.
You can use the Circle Flight Application to capture videos and photos in locations you can’t necessarily reach by foot.
The HS175D includes a follow-me mode for taking selfies and more complex photos and videos completely hands-free.
Built-in GPS positioning ensures your drone never gets lost whether you fly it automatically or manually.
If you’re brand-new to drones, the Beginner Mode will help you learn the ropes.
This drone is also surprisingly durable for its price, as it features a brushless motor that enables accurate speed control and better efficiency.
The automatic features include a failsafe return-to-home and a low-voltage RTH. The smart RTH will ensure your drone is never too far behind you when you’re out and about.
Oh, and did we mention the Holy Stone HS175D folds too? It does indeed!
5. Holy Stone HS720
Dimensions: 173 x 104 x 56 mm unfolded
Weight: 460 grams
Max Range: 3,277 ft
Max Altitude: N/A
Max Speed: 44.7 m/s
Max Flying Time: 26 mins
Video Resolution: HD
- Includes a carrying bag with your purchase
- Durable and designed to last with metal gearshaft
- 4K camera can rotate and has an adjustable lens
- Many modes for flying, photography, and videography
- Fairly heavy
Finally, we have the Holy Stone HS720, a GPS drone with a 4K camera that’s perfect for adults who want a cool-looking, dependable, and affordable drone (it retails for about $300).
The HS720 folds, and its metallurgical gearshaft allows it to retract or open up quickly and effortlessly. The included carrying bag is nice-looking and sure to keep your drone safe during your travels.
A 4K camera can rotate 90 degrees. The lens is also adjustable. Holy Stone designed the 4K camera for shock absorption so less than ambient conditions won’t affect the camera as much.
You can also transmit FPV footage in 5G.
The drone’s brushless motor and aviation propellers are high-end stuff, increasing this drone’s efficiency and performance.
Included Optical Flow Positioning also improves performance by allowing for stable hovering in one spot.
The follow-me mode with the HS720 is awesome for snapping hands-free photos and videos. You can also set a point of interest so the drone will fly that path or orbit for more hands-free footage.
When you’re ready to call it a day, the GPS-enabled RTH feature will bring your Holy Stone drone back to you.
In the interim, enjoy a flight time of approximately 26 minutes. Then recharge with the included Dual Balance Charger.
Holy Stone has an accompanying free app that lets you share and send your footage with just one click. You’ll be posting on social media in no time.
6. Eachine EX4
Dimensions: 177 x 196 x 70 mm when unfolded
Weight: 437 grams
Max Range: 1,200 m
Max Altitude: 500 m
Max Speed: 10 m/s
Max Flying Time: ~25 mins
Video Resolution: 720p 24 fps
- Has an impressive max range
- Portable and lightweight
- Many one-push modes for easy drone functions
- Has a foldable arm
- Doesn’t have the best camera
For under $250, the Eachine EX4 is a great drone to consider.
The package includes everything you need to get started, with a 2.5-millimeter and 1.5-millimeter L-shaped wrench, a protective backpack, a phone holder, a USB charging cable, a charger, two propellers, one remote, one EX4 drone, and an 11.4-volt 2400 mAh battery.
The EX4 comes jam-packed with functions and features, including a pairing and sharing mode, gravity sensing, Wi-Fi-powered FPV, Ultrasonic Altitude Hold mode, Optical Flow, Waypoint Flights, Orbit Mode, follow me, Headless Mode, and Sideward flight.
The fuselage is built from endurance engineering plastics so this quadcopter holds up. Fly for nearly 30 minutes at a time and witness the power.
A low-power protection overcurrent feature prevents you from overcharging your drone.
The lens zoom on the camera enables you to focus accurately and fast. It’s part of the 4K HD camera with photography and videography capabilities. The three-axis brushless gimbal reduces vibrations.
You can even transmit footage in real-time and change the camera angle via the app or transmitter between -90 and zero degrees.
Let’s talk modes and more features, shall we?
Optical Flow Positioning enables the drone to keep footage smooth with optical flow technology. Altitude Hold Mode keeps the drone at the proper altitude when you yaw, pitch, and roll.
GPS Mode enables the GPS, and Point of Interest lets you select a point for the drone to fly to.
The EX4 also includes a slew of one-key modes, including One-Key Follow Mode, One-Key Return, and One-Key Landing/Takeoff.
This foldable, lightweight drone is also ultra-portable.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Affordable drones don’t have to look like they’re made for kids. The selection of drones we looked at today each costs less than $500.
Many are beginner-friendly, but even if you have some drone experience, you’ll love the hands-off, automated features that make you look like a drone pro.
Whether you trust in the legacy of DJI, you try a Holy Stone drone, or you take to the skies with a Ryze Tech drone, you can’t go wrong with one of the great drones on this list!
If you’re looking for affordable drones that are also beginner-friendly, check out the recommendations below: