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Best Drones Under $1,000

It is not easy to find the right drone for your needs and budget. In today’s market, there are many wonderful possibilities, ranging from revolutionary new releases to those that are on sale and come in great packages, providing better value.

We’ll go through the finest drones under $1,000 in this article so you can make the best decision when buying your next aircraft, whether it’s for professional or leisure use. We will look at the most popular options, as well as an FPV that established its own tier, a water-resistant option developed specifically for aquatic activities, and a few more.

We recommend you get your favorite drink, sit back and relax, as this will be a worthwhile read.

1. DJI Air 2S (our recommended drone)

Editor's Choice
DJI Air 2S
$999.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

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07/05/2022 12:09 am GMT

SPECS:

  • Weight: 595 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 7.5 mi (12 km)
  • Megapixels: 20 MP
  • Flight Time: 31 min

PROS

  • 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • 20 MP still images
  • 5.4 K video
  • Four-way obstacle avoidance system
  • Lightweight and small
  • Panorama images
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode
  • Quickshots
  • Mastershots
  • Quiet in-flight
  • Great range
  • Includes H.265 coding
  • RAW images
  • Various frame options to choose from
  • HDR images
  • D-Log video profile
  • 8 GB Internal storage
  • Featured-packed for this price range

CONS

  • Fixed aperture
  • Editing in-app is limited to 1080p output
  • Low flight time
  • Wind resistance could be higher

Purchasing a drone is a difficult process. We want all of the wonderful features at a reasonable price, and the DJI Air 2S is the greatest value.

Its 1-inch sensor produces some of the finest picture quality we have seen in the industry, even when compared to far more costly drones. 

The Air 2S is billed as an “all-in-one” drone solution by DJI because it is small and light, and it has all of the features we want in a drone: four-way obstacle avoidance, HDR photos, 5.4K video resolution, panoramas, Hyperlapse, AirSense, and more.

There is no other aircraft on the market that gives you so much for so little.

A few features are missing from the Air 2S, such as an adjustable aperture; however, the inclusion of ND filters compensates for this (though not completely).

We also would like to see a longer flying time and more resistance to the wind, but any flaws it may have do not eclipse the elements that shine brightly.

The DJI Air 2S is our recommended product because no other drone in this price range offers such a comprehensive set of functions.

Additionally, its recent inclusion in DJI’s SDK has expanded the number of apps that can operate it, thus further increasing its worth.

2. DJI FPV Fly More Combo

DJI FPV Combo
$999.00

Enjoy crystal-clear real-time and HD Low-Latency Transmission video, even at distances of up to 6.2 miles.

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07/05/2022 12:09 am GMT

SPECS

  • Weight: 595 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 7.5 mi (12 km)
  • Megapixels: 20 MP
  • Flight Time: 31 min

PROS

  • Innovative handheld motion controller
  • Excellent maneuverability and speed
  • Nearby aircraft warnings (DJI Airsense)
  • Great build quality
  • Fun and easy to fly 
  • Goggles provide gorgeous visual quality
  • Longer flight time than regular FPV drones

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Repairing it is far more costly than conventional FPV drones
  • For this price level, the camera isn’t good enough
  • There is no carrying bag included
  • Videos show the front pops
  • Photography options are limited

The DJI FPV is the name of the drone for adrenaline addicts who wish to play it safe. The Chinese manufacturer’s first of its type delivers a stabilized FPV experience with outrageous speeds, clever controls, and high doses of fun.

Its build quality should allow it to last a lifetime if properly cared for. Otherwise, the repair may be too costly.

Only a few FPV drones can brag of such stunning visual quality, although we had hoped for a greater main camera at this price point.

Even if there are a few YouTube tutorials that teach you how to remove the propellers from your footage, your first recording moments with the drone will drive you crazy with this problem. 

However, the one-of-a-kind flying experience provided by this product will help you overlook its flaws.

3. Autel Evo Nano+ Premium (the best mini-camera)

Autel Robotics EVO Nano+ Premium Bundle

Less than 249 grams, Autel EVO Nano+ is the most mini one of all the Autel drones, weighs even less than a smartphone, and fits almost anywhere - from the pocket of your hiking pack to your palm. Ideal for traveling around with you. Just Grab it and go.

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SPECS

  • Weight: 249 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 10.4 mi (16.8 km)
  • Megapixels: 50 MP
  • Flight Time: 28 min

PROS

  • Largest range in the mini-drone market
  • 16x digital zoom
  • 4K video in a small drone
  • 2.7K quality in your live feed
  • Includes H.265 codec 
  • RAW format for photographs 
  • Solid flight performance
  • Built-in microphone in the remote controller
  • 0.8-inch CMOS sensor
  • 50 Megapixels still images
  • f 1.9 aperture for shooting in low-light conditions
  • Three-way obstacle avoidance system
  • Light-weight 

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Low top speed compared to similar products
  • Frame rate choices are limited
  • Short flight time

The Autel Evo Nano+ is the ideal travel companion for Vloggers and travelers alike.

Its big 0.8-inch CMOS sensor shoots stunning video and stills in both bright and dim light. When shooting 4K movies or HDR photos, you will get the finest picture transmission quality in the mini-market. 

Do you have any doubts about going to that horizon point? Before wasting battery life, zoom in with the 16x digital zoom to make a decision.

The Nano+ comes with a number of useful features, including a four-way obstacle avoidance system, the ability to ‘super-download’ photographs and movies to your smartphone, and the MovieMaster editor, which allows you to make spectacular videos using templates. 

It does, however, have several drawbacks, such as a short flight time, limited frame rate options, and poor top speed when compared to other manufacturers’ drones.

Despite this, the Autel Evo Nano+ is an excellent mini drone. If you are seeking to add a mini to your fleet, and money is not an issue, this is a great option.

4. SwellPro Spry+

Swellpro Spry+ Plus Waterproof Drone

Fully waterproof and buoyant, takeoff and land in the water, corrosion-resistant motor coating, up to 4k video and 12mp images.

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SPECS

  • Weight: 538 g (without battery)
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range:  .5 mi (800 m)
  • Megapixels: 12 MP
  • Flight Time: 17 min

PROS

  • Records at 4K
  • Comes with a waterproof sturdy case
  • Durable design
  • Easily switch between GPS and manual flight modes
  • Built-in rechargeable battery in the controller
  • Waterproof
  • Speeds of up to 40 mph (65 km/h)
  • Ability to take off and land in the water
  • Easy to fly

CONS

  • Expensive
  • The design is not foldable
  • A bit heavy
  • Camera is not mounted on a gimbal
  • No obstacle avoidance system

We chose to put this unusual drone on the list because everyone has different needs. If you enjoy water activities and want to capture those memorable moments in 4K quality, this aircraft may be the right tool for you. 

The SwellPro Spry+ is one of the few drones that can take off and land in water without requiring repairs or dying permanently.

It was definitely meant for long-term use; however, we wish it had the option of folding its arms for easier travel.

Aside from the fact that it is water-resistant, it has many other characteristics that distinguish it as a unique drone for water activities. For example, it can achieve speeds of up to 40 mph (65 km/h), which should be adequate to keep up with most watercraft you wish to film while flying. 

A rechargeable battery and a screen are included in the controller (so no need to risk using your phone if your device is not waterproof). And, to keep everything safe for a long time, the package includes a waterproof and durable case in which to store everything.

Its most significant flaw, without a doubt, is its higher price compared to other drones in the same price range. It is also a little too heavy, which shouldn’t be an issue, but greater portability is always appreciated. 

A gimbal, on the other hand, is something we really miss. Although this drone may have been designed with an FPV perspective in mind, the possibility of recording stabilized footage would have substantially enhanced the videos it produces, as it is prone to become wobbly (is that the impression you want?).

5. DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo

DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo

The Mavic Air 2 camera drone takes power and portability to the next level. It combines a powerful camera with intelligent shooting modes for stunning results.

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SPECS

  • Weight: 570 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 11.5 mi (18.5 km)
  • Megapixels: 48 MP
  • Flight Time: 34 min

PROS

  • Good flight time
  • 48 MP still images
  • Easy to fly
  • Obstacle avoidance system
  • HDR video
  • RAW images
  • Airsense
  • Light-weight
  • Foldable design
  • Long-range
  • 8 GB internal storage
  • D-Cinelike color profile

CONS

  • Lower ISO settings in 48 MP than in 12 MP
  • Can easily touch the ground with its body when on the ground (bad design)
  • Punctual video feed issues
  • Lacks an exposure dial in the controller

Although many expected the DJI Mavic Air 2 to be a smaller drone, like its predecessor, its folding design and lightweight body make it a convenient aircraft to transport.

The drone’s ability to snap 48 MP smart photographs and generate four types of 8K Hyperlapses thanks to the 1/2″ CMOS sensor placed on board is one of its most notable capabilities. 

It can also employ intelligent flight modes such as Active Track 3.0, Spotlight 2.0, and Point of Interest 3.0, which all work together with the obstacle avoidance system.

The six Quickshots are also a terrific method to rapidly get the perfect photo of that region you are visiting for a short time.

We wished the 48 MP images had the same ISO settings as in the 12 MP mode. After all, this feature makes this drone specially targeted to photographers. 

The body design that makes it touch the ground when landing on uneven terrain could have easily been avoided, as this will certainly cause damage to the drone’s belly over time.

There are a few other small downsides to the Mavic Air 2, like the isolated video feed issues, but you can get the Fly More Combo at a nice discount, and for that price, it is still a great product. 

6. DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo
$699.00

At less than 249g, it weighs about as much as an apple and fits in the palm of your hand. Compact and convenient, this small drone is your ideal travel companion, transforming how you capture your favorite memories.

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07/05/2022 12:07 am GMT

SPECS

  • Weight: 249 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 6.2 mi (10 km)
  • Megapixels: 12 MP
  • Flight Time: 31 min

PROS

  • 4K video
  • 12 MP still images
  • HDR photo mode
  • Panoramas
  • RAW files
  • Super light and compact
  • Long battery life
  • High video bitrate
  • Nice collection of QuickShots
  • Affordable price
  • Good controller ergonomics
  • Better controller transmission than Mavic Mini

CONS

  • Lack of color profiles
  • No obstacle avoidance system
  • More expensive than its predecessor
  • No follow modes

There aren’t many drones on the market that can compete with the DJI Mini 2. Without a doubt, Mini 2 is your ideal travel partner. It’s so small that you can fit it in the pocket of your pants.

But don’t be fooled by the Mini 2’s appearance; it’s jam-packed with features. 

This drone outperforms its predecessor in every way. It features a 2x zoom and can record video in 4K. It also stores photos in RAW format and has superior video transmission, range, and maximum speed.

The Mini 2 is a product that is difficult to beat.

According to rumors, the new version will be released shortly, which means that now is the perfect time to get one of these mini-drones, since they are going to be heavily discounted. 

Aside from that, DJI incorporated the Mini 2 in their SDK (software development kit) on December 31, 2021, which means that third-party applications like Litchi, Dronelink, Drone Harmony, and others added it to their list of supported drones. 

What exactly does that imply, you might wonder? It means you’ll be able to utilize features like creating missions, using Active Track, flying in FPV mode, and many more that you can’t use with the official app.

Yes, there are some drawbacks to this drone. It doesn’t have an obstacle avoidance system, for example, making it prone to collisions if you don’t take the proper measures.

We didn’t enjoy the price hike, which I suppose is to be expected when you’re the market leader with no competition, nor the absence of color profiles. 

In any case, obtaining the Fly More Combo edition of the Mini 2 at this lowered pricing is a terrific value!

7. Parrot Anafi (top choice for photogrammetry beginners)

Parrot ANAFI
$369.99

With its ultra-compact and lightweight carbon frame (320 g), this quadcopter drone unfolds in less than 3 seconds, reaches a speed of 55 km/h in sport mode, and withstands bullets up to 50 km/h.

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07/05/2022 12:03 am GMT

SPECS

  • Weight: 320 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 2.5 mi (4 km)
  • Megapixels: 21 MP
  • Flight Time: 25 min

PROS

  • 4K video with HDR
  • Light and foldable
  • It can be charged via USB-C
  • 3x digital zoom
  • 180° vertical gimbal tilt
  • Quiet
  • Panorama images
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing mode
  • Tracking modes
  • Color profile ‘P-Log’
  • Compatible with Pix4Dcapture

CONS

  • No obstacle avoidance system
  • Intelligent flight modes are behind a paywall
  • Short flight time
  • Poor customer service

It’s practically impossible to find a drone as complete as the Anafi in this price range. The product manufactured by Parrot has all the features a professional needs in a small and lightweight drone (weighing only 320 g). 

It can capture 4K HDR videos and includes a P-Log mode if you want to colorize your footage in postproduction.

The 180° vertical gimbal tilt is a unique aspect that makes it a terrific tool for bridge inspections or creating audiovisual material that we rarely see. 

If you work in photogrammetry or want to get into it, the Parrot Anafi is the drone for you, as it is officially supported by Pix4Dcapture, allowing you to create mapping missions, this is the main reason why we are recommending it if you are a beginner in this field. 

The lack of an obstacle avoidance system forces you to meticulously plan your photogrammetry and waypoint missions to avoid any crashes, although this should not be an issue if you know what you are doing. 

We would like a longer flight duration, but given that Anafi was introduced in June 2018, the current flight time is more than sufficient. 

The lack of good customer service from Parrot is perhaps its biggest drawback; however, you probably will not need to contact them while the drone is under warranty (and maybe not even later).

8. DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo 

DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo
$465.00

The compact yet powerful Mavic Mini is the perfect creative companion, capturing your moments in a way that effortlessly elevates the ordinary.

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07/05/2022 12:06 am GMT

SPECS

  • Weight: 249 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 2.5 mi (4 km)
  • Megapixels: 12 MP
  • Flight Time: 30 min

PROS

  • Great camera for this price range
  • Super lightweight and foldable design
  • Amazing stabilization
  • Long flight times
  • Easy and fast to fly
  • Includes DJI’s Quickshots
  • Stunning value

CONS

  • Lack of RAW format
  • Limited wind resistance
  • Inability to zoom
  • No 4K resolution

The Mavic Mini was designed to take the place of the popular DJI Spark. Its objective was to become the ideal product for individuals interested in learning more about the intriguing world of camera drones, and based on its success, we can confidently say it succeeded. 

The DJI Mini 2 has now replaced the Mavic Mini, although the former still provides excellent value roughly three years after its release.

The 2.7K camera, the extremely stabilized footage delivered by the 3-axis gimbal, and the inclusion of DJI’s Quickshots in this easy-to-fly drone are the major reasons to buy it.

We cannot deny that it lacks some features that may be vital to you, depending on why you are buying a mini-drone in the first place.

The Mavic Mini, for example, is not suitable for professional photographers who require a drone that can capture RAW images.

However, if you are a tourist that merely wants to take some stunning shots of that long-awaited vacation without the larger capacity that RAW photos demand, this is the ideal tool for you.

Many Mavic Mini owners wished they could shoot 4K footage, however, 2.7K should do if you plan on watching your videos on a Full HD TV or your smartphone.

If you don’t mind spending a little more, I recommend the DJI Mini 2, which is currently the best value mini-drone on the market. 

Nevertheless, for individuals who do not require greater quality, the Mavic Mini Fly More Combo is an excellent choice.

9. Hubsan Zino Mini SE

Hubsan Zino Mini SE

With Vision Optical flow & GPS control system, the drone can hover stably both indoor and outdoor. GPS location and Auto Return to Home free of losing the drone. Weight 0.55Ib with no requirement to register FAA.

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SPECS

  • Weight: 249 g
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Range: 3.7 m i (6 km)
  • Megapixels: 12 MP
  • Flight Time: 45 min

PROS

  • 4K camera
  • Amazing flight time
  • Lightweight and foldable design
  • Good range
  • Grade 5 wind resistance
  • LED display in the remote controller
  • AI Tracking mode
  • Image denoising for low-light shots
  • 3x digital zoom
  • Supports YouTube broadcasting

CONS

  • No obstacle avoidance system
  • Not so stable in windy conditions
  • A bit pricey 
  • Low top speed
  • Missing RAW file format

The days when the DJI Mavic Mini had no competition are long gone. Several manufacturers are now offering fascinating alternatives to the market leader. 

The Hubsan Zino Mini SE is one among those possibilities worth investigating. This drone under $400 has more features, including a longer flying time and zoom, than its immediate competition.

The ability to record in 4K was the most requested feature of the Mavic Mini. With the Hubsan Zino Mini SE, you can do this, as well as use a digital 3x zoom when filming (remember, the Mavic Mini has no zoom). 

The most significant difference between the DJI product and the Zino Mini SE is the included battery, which can sustain flights of up to 45 minutes vs 30 minutes in the Mavic Mini.

Tracking mode, which is also included in the Zino Mini SE, is another function not seen in the original Mini. 

In addition, you may immediately stream your flights to YouTube without the use of third-party apps (required in the small Mavic). 

There are certain downsides to the Hubsan drone that you should consider before making a decision.

The Zino Mini SE, like the Mavic Mini, lacks the ability to save photographs in RAW (uncompressed) format. It also has a lower peak speed than newer aircraft, and it lacks an obstacle avoidance system, which already appears to be a standard feature for mini-drones. 

The Hubsan Zino Mini SE is an excellent option in this budget range, but we feel that offering it at a cheaper price would have helped the firm capture customers from competitors.

The bottom line

Have you already made up your mind? I understand that there are so many possibilities that you may feel overwhelmed. Remember that understanding your budget and what you will use the drone for are two of the most important things to think about before purchasing a new drone.

Consider learning to fly with our assistance if you have already purchased your new aircraft from one of the options listed above. To do so, simply click or tap on this link.

» MORE: Best Drone Courses Taught by Experts

Image Credit:
Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash (link)