Getting a drone with high-tech specs doesn’t have to be a herculean task. With the wide range of products available on the web, it is best to ensure that you get value for your money, and not just make do with what is available.
You don’t have to break the bank to get an a-list drone, you can own a drone with Quality cameras, hi-tech specs, smashing flight times, and a couple extras to boot for less than a thousand dollars. We’ve got them all listed and explained below.
We will start by looking at some of the key qualities and factors that make a quality drone within this general price range. Before you set out to buy a drone, you must consider certain important factors, such as the camera. The camera is one of the most important features most drone flyers look forward to, whether you want to snap some quick shots or want to record a detailed flight video.
Another important feature to look out for is its stabilization system. Gimbals ensure stability when taking aerial shots and also provides for a smooth flight. The last thing you want is shaky flight and even shakier footage, if you use a camera drone.
Last, but not least, look for one that has a good flight time. It’ll save you money on extra batteries and constantly changing them throughout your flight while out in the field. Always remember that even if the drone isn’t the latest and greatest on the market, that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. Timeless classics are classics for a very good reason!
BEST DRONES UNDER $1000
1. DJI PHANTOM 3 PROFESSIONAL QUADCOPTER 4K UHD VIDEO CAMERA – Best Drone Under $1000 Overall
The DJI Phantom 3 Pro is arguably the best drone for under $1000 you can buy at the moment. The Phantom 3 comes in three different levels: Standard, Pro, and Advanced. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro and the Advanced are both top-rated drones under $1000. The Standard drone is also an excellent drone but comes at a significantly lower price point, which is why it is not on this list.
The Phantom 3 Pro is significantly larger and heavier than the Mavic Pro, which means you can’t just throw it in a bag or backpack like the Mavic Pro. However, the size and weight of the Phantom 3 make it better for use in less ideal weather conditions and offers a significantly greater ability to deliver longer shots that are smooth, steady and stable throughout.
The Phantom 3 Pro also uses many of the same technologies that make the Mavic Pro such a great option for beginners or amateurs, but includes more advanced features, making it a more attractive option for more experienced pilots. It also features an advanced camera, which makes it a more attractive option for more professional photographers, videographers and filmmakers. Since many of the basic features of the Phantom Pro 3 – such as a controller that utilizes a smartphone or tablet – are covered below in the review for the Mavic Pro, I’ll stick to what’s different or advanced in the Phantom 3 Pro.
The Phantom 3 Pro is Ultra HD 4K capable at 30fps and utilizes a 12 MP camera with an f/2.8 lens that helps eliminate unwanted distortion. Below are two photos displaying actual images taken by the Phantom 3 Pro.
The Intelligent Flight Battery has a number of built-in sensors that can detect the exact status of the battery and give you remaining power data in real-time through a series of bright LEDs. A higher voltage and more power and energy combine to give you a significantly improved flight experience. The Phantom 3 is also capable of continuously calculating its own remaining battery power and current distance to determine just much charge it needs to return, so you always know exactly how much time you have remaining for flying.
- GPS assisted hover
- Vision Positioning System
- Automatic Flight Logs
- Superior Propulsion
- Dynamic Maneuvering
- Einstein- level Controller
- DJI Software Development Kit
2. DJI MAVIC AIR – Best Budget Drone Under $1000 Overall
The Mavic Air is the most recent addition to the Mavic series by the renowned brand DJI. It is a significant upgrade to its predecessor the Mavic Pro. It has a slightly better camera and sensors. However, the Pro does have more control range.
When it comes to performance, Mavic Air behaves the same as its older brother Mavic Pro. Both have astonishing performance, being able to steadily hover in place without any pilot’s input on the remote controller. It is a very gentle flyer, ideal for beginners. You may decide to fly it in fairly bad weather, although with some caution. Also, Mavic Air can reach a maximum speed of 88.4km/h. This makes it a great candidate for Drone Racing.
One eye-candy feature of Mavic Air is its camera. If you are a lover of aerial photography and videography you will want to take this ‘baby’ everywhere with you.
The camera can also shoot 4K video at 30fps, 2.7K at 60fps and Full HD video at 120fps. If you love to capture outdoor events or take aerial photos, this is the drone to capture it all in high- quality and without any hassle. And it of course also transmits Live Video.
- Flight Autonomy
- Tap & Fly Vision-Based Protection
- VIO Technology
- Smart Obstacle Avoidance
- One-Key Takeoff
- Landing Automatic Return
- Uses a 3-axis mechanical Gimbal stabilization system
- Has a 3D foldable design for added portability
- Features 3-Directional Environment Sensing, Advanced Pilot
- Assistance System,2.0, Intelligent Return to Home, Slow-Motion Video and SmartCapture
- Uses a foldable remote controller with detachable control sticks
- Has up to 8 GB of internal storage
- Uses FOC ESCs and propulsion
3. UPair Two Drone – Best 4K Drone Under $1000
The UPair 2 drone is our best 4K drone under $1000. Not only because it is one of the best aerial photography drones with its 4K videography and photography features, but also because it ensures power, camera quality, live video, and everything for one of the cheapest prices.
At this price point, it’s hard to find a better aerial photography drone. UPair two is not fast, it’s not acrobatic, and it’s a very stable quadcopter with a 4K UHD Camera that perfectly fits any aerial photography and videography fan. It is very wind-resistant, stable even during medium wind conditions. It performs exactly as expected from a camera drone, with a control range of 4200 feet, and up to 24 minutes flight time.
Everything about UPair 2 was designed to enhance the aerial photography and videography experience. It is a drone that ensures amazing image quality and ease of use. Perfect for film school students, semi-professional use, and much more.
UPair 2 Comes equipped with a 16MP camera capable of 4K/30fps ultra high definition video and 1080p/120fps slow-motion video. It also transmits Live Video. The integrated 3- axis stabilized gimbal eliminates any vibrations. If you are reading our article looking for the cheapest and most reliable camera drone under $1000, you just found it.
- 4K Ultra HD + 16MP Camera
- 24 Minutes flight time
- 3 Axis Gimbal
- Return to Home
- 4S Smart battery
- Point of interest
4. DJI Phantom 3 Professional – Best Video Drone Under $1000
One of the popular quadcopters brand on the market notable for its autonomous flight functionality is DJI. The Phantom 3 Professional is not an exception, It has some unique features in terms of performance, video quality and battery life.
It comes with a very reasonable price point at under $1000 and it is capable of completing 23 minutes of autonomous flight before going back to base. The specs on this drone make it a leader in amateur filmmaking, photographs and more.It can be controlled from a distance of about 5km. This is a drone that’s well-suited for use both indoors and outdoors and they commonly go on sale allowing many people to start up their drone hobby without having to invest thousands of dollars. See also here.
The camera is a distinctive feature of a drone, drone enthusiasts would agree that the camera is a feature to look out for when buying a quadcopter, because that is the main reason most people buy them, the Phantom 3 professional drone happens to have an optimized 720P, 94 DEGREES FOV Camera, perfect for capturing memorable moments at 30 frames per second.
The battery life on this drone is excellent for the type of video that shoots as well as the controls offered on the device. this drone can fly uninterrupted for 23 minutes. The improved battery life on this drone is comparable with others in the price point but not many of them feature the same image quality.
- FPV real-time transmission
- 15.2V, 4480mAh battery
- Great control range of up to 5km
- Great stability
- Follow me mode
- GPS+GLONASS Positioning
- Vision Positioning Module
5. DJI SPARK FLY MORE COMBO – Best Camera Drone Under $1000
Just when we thought drones could not get any smaller, DJI went on ahead to manufacture SPARK Fly More Drone Combo. This drone has excellent features and compact design, allowing you to carry it anywhere. It can even lift off from the palm of your hand. Despite its small size, do not be fooled into thinking that this is a toy. This is due to the excellent performance the SPARK Fly delivers for under $1000.
This drone’s design is ideal for those that love taking selfies, a group that is popularly known as drones. You can capture high-quality images by just waving your hand. This is made possible by the infrared sensors fitted on its front side. You can also control the drone using your mobile phone because it has an inbuilt Wi-Fi module that enables you to use your phone to control it.
Just like Mavic Air, this drone is fitted with sensors that help in obstacle avoidance as well as giving it intelligent flight modes. This drone comes in bright colours, which help to increase visibility as it hovers in the air. However, be cautious when using it in windy environments as it tends to sway a lot. It is easier travelling with the Mavic Air because its propellers can be folded, thereby converting it into a smaller package.
The drone features a top speed of about 30mph, and it comes fitted with a two-axis gimbal, which is not as effective as a 3-axis gimbal but works efficiently. It also does not take 4K pictures and videos, but its 1080p camera delivers excellent image quality. It is recommended that one lands this drone on the arm or softer grounds due to its small feet that make it hard to land on rocky grounds. Fortunately, it has stabilization technology to keep it afloat. It also has a maximum flight speed of 15 minutes.
It comes with a 2-axis brushless stabilized gimbal that holds a camera capable of delivering 1080p excellent image quality. The camera is of good quality, as well as the gimbal. However, it does not take 4k pictures and videos. However, it is ideal for selfie shots.
- A 64 GB high speed memory card
- A cleaning cloth
- A custom hard case
- A remote control
- An extra battery
- A carry bag
- A power cable
- A battery charging hub
- A charger
6. DJI Mavic air Fly More Combo (Onyx Black) – Best Photography Drone under $1000
As we have stated earlier drones are a must-have for everyone because of the various tasks and functions they can perform. Some drones are come with fantastic cameras and hence are an excellent choice for Photography, videography, Filmmaking and Vlogging. If you happen to fall in this category, we have just the drone for you; The DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo (Onyx Black). HD films and 32MP Panorama shots can be captured by the camera.
The Onyx black drone is easy to control, and is very similar to the other drones in the mavic air series.It offers you amazing features at a cheaper cost. Specifically, it measures at 6.5 x 1.6 x 3.2 in and weighs 430 grams. It also comes with a 4K UHD Camera, and a 120 degrees FOV lens.
The drone comes pre-packed with three lithium polymer batteries which when fully charged will power the drone for a duration of 21 minutes, there is also a charger, a remote controller, and the user manual.
The drone also has other eye-candy features like FPV mode, Camera mode, Sport Mode, Follow me mode, Automatic calibration, then there is the Auto return to home feature which comes in handy when the battery is low or in the case of lost signal.
It comes with a 4K camera, and lens FOV of 120 degrees which could be a game-changer for drone photography and videography.The video recording resolution stands at 1080p 120fps.You can take photos without getting too close to your subject due to lack of obstacle avoidance.
- The Active Track feature allows you to follow specific objects with higher precision. Gimbals ensure steady images
- Maximum speed: 68.4 kmph in sport mode
- Extremely quiet
- 4K HD FPV Camera,with 120 degrees wide-angle lens
- Ergonomic foldable design
- Lightweight and durable
- 3-axis Gimbal
- Multiple flight modes
- Three Lithium-polymer batteries
7. DJI MAVIC PRO: ULTRA PORTABLE – Best Rated Drone Under $1000
What a way to start off our list of the best drones under $1000, with the DJI Mavic Pro. It is noted to be one of the world’s most popular camera drones for several good reasons. Although it’s small, the Mavic Pro comes packed full of incredible features.
The eye-catching aspect of this drone is its compact design. This has gotten the attention of many, thereby earning it a top spot. The drones’ rotor arms fold into the body, reducing it to an almost pocket-sized device. This makes the Mavic Pro the perfect drone for travellers with limited space when travelling.
The DJI Mavic Pro’s camera is capable of shooting in 4k at 60 fps, 1080p at 120fps and can also take 12-megapixel photographs which can be stored as RAW, JPEG and DNG formats. The drone keeps the camera firmly in place during flight via a 3-axis gimbal.
When flying the Mavic Pro, it is important that you remember to select the focal point, which is done by simply tapping the screen. New Mavic pilots to forget this aspect, only to realise that their footage is blurred. With DJI’s latest OcuSync technology, the Mavic Pro is capable of reaching a whopping 7km maximum distance. Considering you can’t fly the drone out of the line of sight, this seems a little extreme. But it’s nice to know you can!
The DJI Mavic Pro offers pilots 27-minutes of fun filled drone moments. This has been the longest flight time recorded on this list. Many pilots around the world have dubbed the Mavic Pro best drone under $1000 and it’s easy to see why. If you’re looking to invest in a quadcopter that will last, provide you endless hours of fun and shoot amazing footage, then the DJI Mavic Pro is for you.
- Foldable rotor arms
- Automatic take off and landing
- One touch return to home
- Multiple intelligent night modes
- Forward-facing obstacle avoidance sensor
8. DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter with remote controller – Best Drone For Beginners Under $1000
It is one of the DJI’s most recent releases; the drone that aims to be the perfect portable quad for travellers, vloggers, holidays, or just a casual day at the park. Indeed DJI Mavic air lives up to its name and it is one of the best drones for beginners who prioritize ease of use, camera quality and a complete bundle for a very low price.
As expected from a drone aimed at beginners, it is of course extremely easy to control and manoeuvre. It hovers steadily even without much input. However, take into consideration that due to the drone’s small size, it’s not a good idea to fly it in medium to strong wind conditions. On the other hand, it is also an amazing drone to fly indoors.
The DJI Mavic air spots some astonishing specs, such as an impressive control range. Flight time is also quite impressive if we take into consideration how small the drone is. Also, Mavic air has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes. It is ideal for beginners and intermediate.
When you are looking for an ideal portable compact camera drone, Spark provides one of the best offers. It comprises an in-built camera of 12 MP capable of recording 1080p video at 30 frames per second. A 3-axis stabilized gimbal is present to eliminate vibration and ensure a steady high-quality image.
The drone can also transmit Live Video in high-quality, real-time with no latency whatsoever. At this current price range, it’s the best FPV drone one can get in the market.
DJI Mavic air presents a wide range of top-notch features that take the whole experience an all another level.
- Gesture and TapFly Control (tap the screen and the drone will fly in that direction autonomously)
- Flight Autonomy
- Obstacle Detection (don’t worry about hitting objects during flight)
- GPS Tracking
- Quick shots
- Active track
9. Hubsan Zino Pro 4K Drone – Best Mid-size Drone Under 1000$
Ideal For: Beginners, Intermediate, Experts. This drone is feature-rich enough to rival products such as the DJI Phantom and UPair One, when it comes to performance indeed the Hubsan Zino Pro 4K drone is able to rank among the best within this budget. Some of its functions includes: Orbiting, low battery fail-safe,image tracking, headless mode among others. The Husban Zino Pro 4K drone comes in a portable design with foldable arms, this makes it easy to carry around as it fits right in your backpack.
Are you ready to be amazed? Because we were. We didn’t expect this kind of specificationsfrom Husban Zino Pro 4K drone, but we were wrong, Husban managed to surprise us! The drone has a maximum flight time of 23 minutes.
The camera is placed on a 3- axis stabilized gimbal, thus eliminating vibration and always ensuring good image. The lens is low-distortion and has a wide-angle. And of course it also transmits Live Video on real-time in amazing quality directly to the pilot’s smartphone device (controller comes with a phone holder).
- 4K UHD Camera
- Return on Low-Battery and Weak Connection
- Removable lens
- GPS & Glonass Positioning Vision Positioning
- Headless mode
- Line fly mode
10. DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter – Best Racing Drone Under $1000
The Phantom 3 Advanced sure has a lot in common with the other drones in the phantom 3 series. This drone ably projects the unique dji features in terms of flight functionality, impeccable video quality and battery life.
It comes with a very reasonable price point at under $1000 and it is capable of completing 23 minutes of autonomous flight before going back to base. The specs on this drone make it a perfect choice for drone racing and so much more.It can be controlled from a distance of about 5km. This quadcopter is well-suited for use both indoors and outdoors and they commonly go on sale allowing many people to pick up drone-racing as a hobby without having to invest thousands of dollars.
The camera is a distinctive feature of a drone, drone enthusiasts would agree that the camera is a feature to look out for when buying a quadcopter, because that is the main reason most people buy them, the Phantom 3 Advanced drone is capable of capturing 2.7K images at 30 frames per second.
The battery life on this drone is excellent for the type of video that shoots as well as the controls offered on the device. this drone can fly uninterrupted for 23 minutes. The improved battery life on this drone is comparable with others in the price point but not many of them feature the same image quality. Also check forbes.
- FPV real-time transmission
- 15.2V, 4480mAh battery
- Great control range of up to 5km
- Great stability
- Follow me mode
- GPS+GLONASS Positioning
- Vision Positioning Module
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are drones under 1000$ ideal for beginners?
Yes and no. Why? Because on the one hand, these drones have the most stable hover in the market, being able to steadily hover in the air without even the pilot touching the remote controller, they are that accurate. This is mainly due to very precise sensors, GPS- Assisted Hover and overall fine-tuned technology. So yes, if we are talking about ease of use, flying one of these drones is the beginner’s dream.
On the other hand, these are expensive products, so if you are not practicing in an open area together with someone with more expensive… You will eventually crash the drone and might break some expensive part. That is why we always recommend toy drones for first-timers, everyone who is flying a drone for the first time. However, if you have a safe and open area to practice, go ahead and grab one of these beauties.
Can I fly indoor and outdoor?
It depends. There are drones which can be flown both indoors and outdoors, while others are specific to one type of flying only. Don’t worry, when discussing each we will mention if they can be flown indoor, outdoor or both.
Are these drones safe for children?
These drones are not so safe for children. An ideal drone for children must have a protective frame around the core and delicate components such as the propellers and the motor,plastic frame and be very lightweight and simple. If you want to buy a drone for your kid we would refer you to our Top 10 Drones Under $200 and under $300 lists instead.
Note: A kid with adult supervision can easily fly a DJI Phantom 4, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro and Walkera Vitus.
Do I have to register my drone with The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)?
If you live in the US, FAA registration is required for any unmanned aircraft for recreational and commercial use if it weighs more than 0.55lbs (250 grams).
Do these drones support External Cameras like GoPro?
Every drone on this list can support and carry a GoPro and other action cameras such as SJcam and Xiaomi without any issues. In fact, drones such as the Yuneec Q500 and Typhoon H can even carry professional cameras, due to the drone’s large size, powerful motors and payload capacity.
Although most drones on this list come pre-packed with a camera, but not all these are standard cameras. Some of these camera specifications are not as impressive, and incapable of competing with GoPro in terms of 4K and Full HD quality.
Note: DJI Spark and DJI Mavic come with their own built-in cameras (beautiful image quality, you will be amazed).
Are there drones under $1000 featuring a complete FPV package?
Yes. For this amount of money, you can get practically any bundle that will give you a full experience. Check out the DJI Mavic Pro and Walkera Vitus 320 for truly amazing complete FPV packages (goggles not included).
Are there drones under $1000 suitable for film-making and professional video recording?
Yes! drones on this list are suitable for film-making. Quadcopters like the Typhoon Q500 and H are capable of carrying professional cameras, thanks to the powerful motors, large size and max payload capacity. Many companies use these drones when filming commercials, video clips, short-movies and sometimes even lower-budget cinema.
The purpose of this article is to help shoppers like you make an informed decision. Most of the time when it comes to choosing the right drone, you will want to pick a quality one that is easy to fly, can withstand impact and is packed with features. While drone technology is evolving at a rapid pace, more drones are becoming much more sophisticated.
Now that you have been familiarized with drones, the various types of drones there, their component parts and of course our list of best drones under $1000. We hope you have been able to come to a decision about the drone you want to buy.