Ready to take your photography skills to the skies? Owning a drone is one way to level up, and we’ve got the best drones for your money to help you to do it.
While many drones cost $600 on average, we scoured the internet and found more affordable drones that are still capable of creating awe-inspiring, cinematic videos on your next vacation, outdoor adventure, or bridal shoot.
All of these picks are below $500, and there are even a few options under $100. And all are perfect for beginners and novice users. To stay up to date on the best tips and discounts, download The Krazy Coupon Lady app and text DEALS to 57299.
The Best Drones for the Money
- Potensic A20W Drone (Best Drone for First-Timers)
- Ryze Tello (Best Drone to Teach Kids Code)
- Holy Stone HS720 (Best Drone to Take on Vacation)
- Roku U11 (Best Entry-Level Drone)
- DJI Mini SE (Best Drone for Learning Aerial Photography)
- DJI Mini 2 (Best Drone For Content Creators)
- DEERC DE22 (Best Drone for Novice Pilots)
- Exo Cinemaster 2 (Best Drone with AI)
1. Best Drones For First-Timers: Potensic A20W Drone
For beginners, the Potensic A20W Drone ($44, Amazon) is exactly what you need if you are learning to pilot a drone for the first time. It doesn’t have all the features that you see with more expensive offerings, but it’s an excellent pick if you simply want to get the hang of flying one. It’s also a great choice for kids and if you want to practice your piloting skills indoors.
The Potensic can connect to your phone for an FPV experience. That means that you see what your drone sees when it’s in the air. You get about 21 minutes of flight time, which is decent but still a bit shorter air time than what you get with other drones.
At 720p, the camera quality isn’t great. But then again, the price is so low that it’s hard to expect more. And sometimes Amazon will offer a 10% coupon on the product listing, so keep an eye out for that.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Walmart Drones Delivery
2. Best Drones to Teach Kids Code: Ryze Tello
With the Ryze Tello ($99, Amazon), kids can have fun and learn how to code at the same time. This drone uses Scratch, a free coding platform developed for young people by MIT. Your child can build code to create flight patterns and even cool tricks for the drone to do.
For its low price, this drone is an ace pick. It features both DJI and Intel technology, plus it includes a 5.0 MP camera and 720p video resolution. You get 13 minutes of flight time on average, and it can go as far as 100 meters away. Just note that the Tello doesn’t come with its own Wi-Fi remote, which is no biggie, as you can always buy one separately. We’ve seen this drone priced at $79, but that was back in 2020. So we think the best price you can get it now is $99.99.
3. Best Entry-Level Drone: Roku U1
If you’re dipping your toe into drone photography or flying a drone for the first time, the Roku U11 ($209.99, Amazon) is a fantastic starter option. This drone features a 90° adjustable 4K camera which is capable of taking gorgeous aerial shots whether you’re shooting for real estate, construction, or just for fun.
It comes with two batteries that run for 20 minutes each, plus extras like “find the lost drone,” which helps you track, follow, and auto-return it. And to make it easy for beginners, this drone comes with one-key auto-land and take-off functions.
The only shortcoming we see is that it only has a 2-axis gimbal, which could result in shaky footage, especially if the weather is less than ideal. Sometimes Amazon offers a $30 coupon on it, so watch out for that.
4. Best Drone to Take on Vacation: Holy Stone HS720
If you’re planning a trip to an exotic locale, why not upgrade your camera to the Holy Stone HS720 ($289.99, Walmart) drone instead? This drone does not play: it’s a budget drone that has premium features normally found in rivals twice or three times its price.
Not only is it equipped with an impressive 4K UHD camera, but it’s also user-friendly and has settings like altitude hold and one-key take-off and landing. This makes the drone easy for newbies to handle. And if you need professional images of your activities, you can always switch on the follow me mode so you can track what you do, even if you’re in a car or on a bike. You get 26 minutes of flight time on a single battery, which is decent, and you don’t have to worry about your drone stalling in the air. It will automatically return when the battery is low.
5. Best Drone for Learning Aerial Photography: DJI Mini SE
The DJI Mini SE ($299, Amazon) is almost exactly like the DJI Mini 2 except that it’s more affordable and has slightly different features. It weighs under 249 grams, so it’s not subject to government regulations like bigger drones. And while it doesn’t have the kind of range the DJI Mini 2 has, it can still fly as far as four kilometers in wide open areas. Note that unlike the DJI Mini 2, which allows you to shoot photos in JPEG and RAW file formats, the DJI Mini only offers a JPEG format for photos.
The DJI Mini SE is equipped with a 2.7K camera that can take sharp photos and is capable of shooting Hollywood-style cinematic videos. The camera also comes with an auto-mode and a pro-mode if you want to control shutter speeds yourself. Overall, we think it’s an ideal choice if you’re starting to learn the ropes of drone photography. But if it’s more oomph you’re looking for, then you may be better off just buying the DIJI Mini 2. Take note that we’ve seen the price soar up to $319.99 in late 2022, so make sure to only cop this when it’s at the average price of $299.99 or lower.
6. Best Drone for Novice Pilots: Deerc DE22
If you’ve been flying drones for a while, consider the Deerc DE22 ($339.99, Amazon) if you are looking for an upgrade or want to invest in a new drone. This drone has enticing features for novices and beginners, yet won’t drain your pocket. It features a powerful 4K camera that has 5X optical zoom, so you get a bird’s eye view of whatever you’re shooting. It also comes with settings like GPS positioning, auto-return, and follow-me functions to make your drone photography experience smooth and easy. It’s a foldable drone and comes with a case, plus two batteries. You can expect flight time to last around 26 minutes per battery which is close to the average time of high-end drones. Amazon offers coupons on this drone sometimes. We’ve seen up to $30 off.
7. Best Drone With AI: EXO Cinemaster 2
For less than $500, the EXO Cinemaster 2 ($439, Amazon) piles on the value. This affordable, well-built drone is good for both beginners and drone photography pros alike. It features 4K video and has a 10 MP camera which, according to their website, can capture 90 million colors in a single shot. Sometimes we’ll see Amazon offer a 10% off coupon on it.
However, what we like most about this drone is the AI features. It comes with automated functions such as find my drone, auto-return, and follow me features, among others. Once the battery is fully charged, it can fly for 28 minutes straight. And if you see threatening weather conditions on the horizon, it even has a sports mode so you can turbo-boost your drone back home. The only caveat is that because it’s over 250 grams, you’ll need to take an extra step and register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before you fly it.
8. Best Drone For Content Creators: DJI Mini 2
Whether you’re filming the family BBQ or rice fields in Bali, the DJI Mini 2 ($449, Amazon) is the device you want to have handy. It features a 4K camera and captures photos in both JPEG and RAW file formats, which is perfect if you’re a content creator or video editor. At less than 250g, this drone is small and fits neatly in the palm of your hand. While its small size makes it convenient to carry, keep in mind you might notice a few design limitations because of it.
The average flight time is around 31 minutes — which can vary depending on weather conditions. It also comes with a built-in 3-axis gimbal to adjust the camera angle and keep the camera stable. So long as nothing is blocking your way, you get up to a 10-kilometer range with the DJI MIni 2. Not to mention, this drone is wind-resistant and can withstand up to 23 miles per hour winds, according to the manufacturer.