Best drones you can buy for less than $1000

Drones are currently the most trending tech gadget out there and it comes as no surprise since they have been a massive hit over the course of this year’s summer. More and more people are opting for buying one which means that their prices will probably drop in the upcoming months. With winter holidays coming, I am sure that many of these models will be on sale so make sure you pick the right one for you and/or your little ones before it’s too late. That is where this article steps in – it will list out the best models so you can see which one fulfills your needs the most. With this being said, I will take you straight to the list where we’ll determine what’s the best drone under $1000!

Are drones a good investment for a start-up business?

There is only one obvious answer to this question and that’s a loud and clear YES! Drones are leading the charge in a wide array of industries, helping improve work efficiency and increase profit steadily over a longer period of time. Their abilities are unparalleled and so is their versatility, both of which make them precious assets of technologically-advanced companies. So, whether you’re looking to build a new business from the ground up using drones as your basis or you’re looking to learn more about drones so you can use them for commercial purposes, one thing is clear – drones are a mighty good investment at this point in time!

But, in order to use your drone for commercial purposes, first you will need to obtain a Remote Pilot in Command certificate (AKA commercial drone pilot license). More about that down below!

Frequently asked questions:

What do you need for commercial drone pilot license?
If you want to fly your drone commercially (f.e. get a job as an aerial photographer, roof inspector, geographical mapper etc…) you will need to pass the FAA Part 107 test. There’s still a few more things t0 the whole process, but this test is the key figure in question. Don’t take it for granted as it consists of technical questions which you will have to go through thoroughly if you want any chances of passing. For more information, please contact your local FAA knowledge testing center. There’s plenty of them all over the USA and I’m sure there will be one nearby.
Can you set up FPV goggles with these drones?

If you’re looking for an FPV racer, then I’m sure you will be satisfied with the list down below. It features several high throttle models including Traxxas Aton and DJI Mavic Pro. With incredible speed, 5.8G FPV capability and yes, full support for FPV goggles, you can rest assured your cravings for immersive FPC action will be soothed.

In terms of actually connecting FPV goggles to one of these drones though, you will have to check out their respective manuals in order to see whether they really support FPV goggles… If yes, then you also need to figure out whether they’re going with WiFi or 5.8G FPV and buy FPV goggles accordingly.

What about aerial photography?

In addition to FPV racers, there’s also another uniquely distinctive type of drones on the market – aerial photography platforms. To be honest – aerial photography drones are a hot thing nowadays and have pushed their way onto the mainstream stage much better than their FPV racing counterparts. That’s why there’s a huge number of aerial photography models in the list down below. Sure, you’ll have to dash out a bit more than $1000 for premium models such as DJI Phantom 4 Pro, but honestly – only a minority will notice much of a difference in comparison to, for example, DJI Mavic Pro’s footage.

What I am trying to say here is YES – these drones are indeed good for aerial cinematography. There is this myth that says only professional UAVs that can carry a couple of pounds worth of photo equipment can be considered proper aerial photography platforms. Obviously, this is such a BS claim… and these 10 drones (well, most of them) are bound to prove they can do the task as good as much pricier models!

 

Table : Drones under $1000

NameImageRangeFlight TimePrice
NameImageRangeFlight TimePrice
10. Hubsan H109S1500m25minSee price now
9. Parrot Bebop 22000m21minSee price now
8. GoPro Karma3000m20minSee price now
7. DJI Spark2000m16minSee price now
6. 3DR Solo800m22minSee price now
5. Yuneec Q500 4K600m25minSee price now
4. DJI Phantom 3 Pro5000m23minSee price now
3. Autel R. X-Star Premium2000m25minSee price now
2. DJI Phantom 47000m27minSee price now
1. DJI Mavic Pro7000m27minSee price now

Here’s link to our list of Best Drones Below $500.

10. Hubsan H109S

Hubsan H109SOne of Hubsan drones has finally made it onto our Under $1000 list. Of course, it’s their premium H109S model. More precisely – the high version which comes with an improved controller as well as a fully fledged 3-axis gimbal stabilization system which does wonders in terms of aerial photography. But, is everything that perfect about this drone? Let’s take a closer look and see for ourselves…

Specifications are always a strong side of Hubsan models, so it is not surprising to see Hubsan H109S having such high numbers. If we are to be more precise here, this birdie can fly as long as 25 minutes and go as far as 1500 meters away from its transmitter. If you opt for the High version of this drone (and trust me, you should) you’ll get an improved transmitter with huge LCD display for 5.8G FPV monitoring. Also, it’s important to note the High version comes with a 3-axis motorized gimbal that gives great stability to the impressive FHD camera.

Furthermore, H109S doesn’t fail to impress when it comes to features too. That’s because it has access to GPS which brings a whole heap of additional functions that you’ll be happy to see. For instance, Hubsan H109S offers altitude hold, headless mode, return to home and even telemetry including range, speed, battery power, altitude and GPS status. All in all, it’s pretty clear H109S is a premium drone and at the price, it’s currently going for – I have to admit it’s quite the steal!

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9. Parrot Bebop 2

parrot-bebop-2The upgraded version of Bebop, the Bebop 2 is currently being sold at much less than $1000… even if you purchase the optional Sky Controller as wel. On a side not, I strongly suggest you do but I’ll tell you more about that later on. For now, let’s just say that Bebop 2 brings several incremental improvements and a rather significant one.

Of course, the most significant improvement with Parrot Bebop 2 is its flight time. The original Bebop had only 11 minutes while Bebop 2 can fly as long as 21 minutes with ease. When it comes to the range, however, the numbers remained pretty much the same, as far as Sky Controller is concerned. You’ll still get around 2 kilometers of range with the controller, in addition to the much better tactile feedback that seems to be much more intuitive than smartphone controlling via Parrot’s Freeflight app. And that’s why, boys and girls, I sincerely recommend you buy the bundle that includes Sky Controller.

Enough about the controller, let’s talk for a bit about the camera. You see, we are looking at a completely different lens. With 180-degrees fish eye FOV and a 14MPX sensor, Parrot Bebop 2 is able to capture breathtaking 1080p footage. Even though this isn’t exactly a huge improvement over the original, it’s still something, especially considering the camera is tilted forward which results in capturing more ground than the sky.

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8. GoPro Karma

gopro_karma_webDid you guys know that GoPro, the world’s most popular action camera brand, has made an entrance into the drone market? Their drone is called Karma and is meant to be a direct competitor to DJI Mavic Pro. As you can see, DJI Mavic Pro is 1st and GoPro Karma is 8th… so it cannot be said the folks over at GoPro were happy with how things played out. But still, is Karma really a bitch or are we talking about a solid drone here?

Karma is actually a pretty solid drone, especially when you take into consideration you can get it with an awesome GoPro action camera as well as Karma Grip, a handheld (or body mounted) stabilization system that will take your cinematography efforts away from the drone. With that said, it’s obvious that GoPro Karma offers the whole photography/filmmaking solution as opposed to DJI Mavic Pro (and technically to all other drones) which only focuses on aerial photography.

In terms of specifications, GoPro Karma runs on a 4S 5100mAh LiPo battery that is capable of providing it with maximally 20 minutes of flight time. Furthermore, operating range is actually pretty good -standing tall at max 3 kilometers. All in all, GoPro Karma did not fail to impress me. Despite not being on par with DJI Mavic Pro, it is still a great drone and truly deserves to be on this list!

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7. DJI Spark

DJI SparkAhhh… Spark – DJI’s smallest drone with enough raw power to serve all your drone-related needs. This ridiculously small quadcopter takes the phrase “pocket drone” to a whole different level. It does so by packing serious hardware underneath that aesthetically pleasing canopy that is bound to amaze you. What am I talking about here? Here’s what:

First of all, you need to understand just how powerful DJI Spark is, so I decided to start the story off by giving you a detailed look into its specifications. DJI Spark is powered by a hefty 1480mAh 3S LiPo battery capable of powering it up for approximately 15 minutes. Furthermore, the range (when used with its dedicated controller) goes up to 2 kilometers which is absolutely praiseworthy for such a small drone. The built-in camera must not be forgotten either. You see, DJI Spark is actually capable of providing excellent aerial footage. It’s all thanks to the small, integrated 1080p-ready 12MPX camera which is mounted on an even smaller 2-axis gimbal for optimal image stability.

And finally, features. In addition to full DJI GO app support, GPS, altitude hold and so on… DJI Spark also offers 2 brand new features which we never saw before in such a small drone. PalmControl and PalmLaunch are their names. Basically, they allow you to control DJI Spark with your hands, without using your smartphone or the dedicated controller. In the end, all I’d like to say is that DJI Spark is one heck of a drone. So, if you are looking to buy a small one, this is a no-brainer!

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6. 3DR Solo

3dr-soloIf you are looking for an extremely smart drone, then you cannot go wrong with 3DR Solo Quadcopter. It is marketed as the smartest drone currently available on the market. That is actually true since it is operated by 2 separate processors: 1 inside the drone and another one inside its controller. What more does it have to offer? Well, let’s see…

3DR Solo comes in two versions: Pre-Installed Gimbal bundle and Quadcopter Only version (both versions fit this price range). Inside the bundle, you will not only get the 3-axis gimbal but a backpack, additional battery and a total of 8 propellers. Lastly, it runs on a dedicated Wi-Fi network which means it can live stream videos from your GoPro (sold separately) straight to your smartphone.

When it comes to specifications, 3DR Solo looks outstanding with up to 500 meters of operating range and roughly 20 minutes of airtime. But, that’s still in the shadow of its smart features. Not only is 3DR Solo sporting GPS, but a huge collection of smart flight modes including Orbit, Follow Me, Cable Cam and even Selfie as well. Finally, if you’re wondering whether you should get gimbal or go without it… my advice would be to pay the extra and get the gimbal. It will drastically improve the quality of your aerial footage. You can thank me later!

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5. Yuneec Q500 4K

yuneec-q500-4kThis is an exceptional piece of aerial video recording tech and as such, it comes as no surprise to see it listed within the best drones under $1000 list. As you can see, Q500 is made by Yuneec and it’s safe to say they’ve done a good job with it. Let’s start from the beginning, though. Here’s everything you need to know about Yuneec Q500.

First of all, it sports a CGO3 camera which is not only able to record astonishing 4K videos, but it can also record 1080p slow motion ones as well. That just takes the whole “aerial video recordings” to an entirely new level, especially considering its 3-axis gimbal that comes in the package. In addition to all of these camera related features, the Q500 has excellent specifications as well. Let’s check them out as well, shall we?

In terms of range, Yuneec Q500 is able to reach up to 600 meters. Charging time is approximately 2 hours. Even though that might seem a bit long at first, when you consider you’ll get 25 minutes of airtime per charge, you’ll come to your senses. With everything that’s been said taken into consideration, I believe Yuneec Q500 is a well-built drone that surely deserves to be on our 5th spot!

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4. DJI Phantom 3 Pro

dji-phantom-3-professionalEven though it’s been awhile since DJI Phantom 4 Pro came onto the stage, it is still a well respected (and well-versed) drone. Come to think of it, on the mainstream market only newer DJI drones (and X-Star Premium) are truly better than this little fella. But, that’s not the end of the world for this old chap. On the contrary – with the recent price drop, DJI Phantom 3 Pro has become one of best bargains on the market. Here is everything you need to know about it:

First things first – features! DJI Phantom 3 Pro carries a massive amount of sensors onboard, making it one of the most self-aware drones out there. Plus, thanks to GPS and access to DJI GO app, this flagship drone has access to a wide variety of advanced features including altitude hold, follow me, return to home and so on… It is incredibly easy to control as well – even complete beginners will have their way with it.

Moving onto the specifications, DJI Phantom 3 Pro is bound to amaze you. Starting off with the camera, we are talking about a 12MPX sensor capable of recording in 4K. Furthermore, operating range stands amazingly far away – 5 kilometers if we are to be more precise here. Last but not least -air time hovers around 25 minutes although some oscillations are to be expected.

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3. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

autel-robotics-x-star-premiumAutel robotics is on a roll, guys! Their newest drone called X-Star Premium is packed with quality features and accessories and is taking the market by storm. With a highly competitive price of only $900, it is able to offer functions that could put to shame some of the more expensive drones on the market. But is everything so good about it? Let’s check it out and see!

Starting off at imaging, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium stands tall with its 4K Ultra HD camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer. Needless to say, this greatly improves the smoothness of your aerial shots, rendering them buttery smooth and vibration free. Moving forward to features, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium has dual GPS / GLONASS outdoor navigation along with magnetic interference protection and several other interesting features.

If that’s not enough to sell this device to you, just wait till I tell you more about its specifications. Not only can this birdie fly as far as 2 kilometers away from its controller, it can also stay in the air for roughly 25 minutes. Best of all – it takes only one and a half hour to fully charge it again. Neat, don’t you agree?

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2. DJI Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4 Even though DJI Phantom 4 Pro exceeds our price range for today, the standard version doesn’t and, believe it or not, it’s the second best drone under $1000. DJI Phantom 4 is a wicked drone, there’s no doubt about that. Still, it’s a huge price increase to the Pro version which led a lot of people to think P4 standard isn’t a true premium model. But, needless to say, DJI Phantom 4 swept all critics aside and now represents the best value for money in high-end drone market… falling short to Mavic Pro only due to its transportability.

The first noteworthy thing about DJI Phantom 4 is its incredible list of specifications. Even though we had radical changes with DJI Phantom 3 Professional, OcuSync technology and slightly more powerful battery allow greater numbers. To be more precise, we are talking about 7 kilometers of operating range (DJI P3 Pro had up to 5) and roughly 25 minutes of airtime. Incredible, right?

The story gets even better once you take a closer look at its features too. In addition to standard ones such as GPS and one key return, DJI Phantom 4 also has access to wide array of smart flight modes including ActiveTrack, TapFly, orbit and much more. So, All things considered, DJI Phantom 4 proves to be a worthy successor to the Phantom series… and I strongly suggest you at least consider going for it since there aren’t many better models for under $1000 around.

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1. DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro FeaturedFinally, we have reached the final drone on this “drones under $1000” list. The best one out of this whole bunch is definitely DJI Mavic Pro – a seriously powerful quadcopter that can easily fit into your backpack. That’s basically the whole concept behind Mavic Pro – fully fledged drone in a ridiculously small package. So, what exactly does it bring to the table?

First of all, I should say a thing or two about the camera. It’s a 4K-ready 12MPX sensor capable of recording 4K in 30 and 1080p in amazing 96fps. Furthermore, this camera is actually mounted on a miniature (and by miniature, I mean extremely small!!!) 3-axis motorized gimbal which not only gives you direct control of the camera while in midair but also eliminates all shakiness that might occur in your footage.

In terms of features and specifications, DJI Mavic Pro does not fail to impress. It packs full support for DJI GO app as well as a whole bunch of smart flight modes just like Phantom 4. Specifications-wise, DJI Mavic Pro can boast with 27 minutes of flight time (which is, by far, the longest air time of all mini drones on the market) and 7 kilometers of operating range thanks to OcuSync technology. All things considered, DJI Mavic Pro really is one heck of a drone and I don’t see any reason why you should steer away from it and go for something else.

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Conclusion

And that’s it boys and girls! You have come to the end of my Top 10 list. As you could see above, this list is filled with some of the most quality models currently available on the market. Keep in mind that some of these models (if not all of them) are not exactly kid-friendly. They are extremely fast and your little ones could break them if they are not experienced pilots.

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